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Active Solids

  • Anton Souslav
    • University of Bath

Event description

Active solids consume energy to allow for actuation and shape change not possible in equilibrium. In this talk, I will focus on the elasticity of systems as wide-ranging as far-from-equilibrium hydrogels, nanoparticles, and mechanical structures composed of active robotic components. First, I will introduce our recent work on hydrogel spheres being lowered onto a hot plate [1]. As the bottom vaporises, the resulting flow couples tightly to elastic deformations within the sphere, giving either spontaneous bouncing or steady-state floating as manifestations of the so-called elastic Leidenfrost effect. I will present theory and simulations of the floating case, which demonstrate a remarkable phenomenon: the heavier the solid, the higher it floats. I will then discuss the general competition between active boundary stresses and an elastic bulk, giving rise to shape change via so-called active elastocapillarity [2]. These results provide theoretical underpinning for recent experiments and point to the design of novel soft machines.

[1] Binysh et al. Thermodynamic lubrication in the elastic Leidenfrost effect. arXiv:2207.02769 [2] Binysh, Wilks, Souslov. Active elastocapillarity in soft solids with negative surface tension. Science Advances, abk3079 (2022).

Active Solids


Higgs Centre Seminar Room, JCMB (Find us on campus maps)
The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics
School of Physics and Astronomy
James Clerk Maxwell Building, 4305
Peter Guthrie Tait Road