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Scientists grow artificial hairs with clever physics trick

Things just got hairy at Princeton.


Scientists found they could coat a fluid elastic on the outside of a disc and turn it to form useful complex patterns. At the point when spun perfectly, tiny spindles rise from the material as it cures. The spindles grow as the disc accelerates, forming a soft solid that looks like hairs.

Inspired by biological designs and rationalized with mathematical precision, the new technique could be utilized at an industrial scale for production with plastics, glasses, metals, and smart materials.

The Scientists published their findings on Feb. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their strategy draws on genuinely basic physics but turns an old set of engineering problems into a new manufacturing solution. The strategy’s simplicity, less expensive and more sophisticated than conventional molds, comes as part of a major shift toward additive manufacturing.

It also promises to play a vital part in developing robotic sensing capabilities and in surfaces that mimic biological patterns—the hairs on a spider leg or on a lotus leaf deceptively simple structures that give essential life functions.

“Such patterns are ubiquitous in nature,” said Pierre-Thomas Brun, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton and the study’s principal investigator. “Our approach leverages the way these structures form naturally.”

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