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Shape control of active surfaces inspired by the movement of euglenids

TitleShape control of active surfaces inspired by the movement of euglenids
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsArroyo, M, DeSimone, A

We examine a novel mechanism for active surface morphing inspired by the cell body deformations of euglenids. Actuation is accomplished through in-plane simple shear along prescribed slip lines decorating the surface. Under general non-uniform actuation, such local deformation produces Gaussian curvature, and therefore leads to shape changes. Geometrically, a deformation that realizes the prescribed local shear is an isometric embedding. We explore the possibilities and limitations of this bio-inspired shape morphing mechanism, by first characterizing isometric embeddings under axisymmetry, understanding the limits of embeddability, and studying in detail the accessibility of surfaces of zero and constant curvature. Modeling mechanically the active surface as a non-Euclidean plate (NEP), we further examine the mechanism beyond the geometric singularities arising from embeddability, where mechanics and buckling play a decisive role. We also propose a non-axisymmetric actuation strategy to accomplish large amplitude bending and twisting motions of elongated cylindrical surfaces. Besides helping understand how euglenids delicately control their shape, our results may provide the background to engineer soft machines.


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