Programmable metafluids via capsule buckling

Deformable metafluids. (a) (a) Elastomer capsules produced by droplet microfluidics. (b) Pressure-volume curves for a single capsule, (c) Pressure-volume curves for metafluids with a capsule volume fraction, f =0.3 suspended in silicone oil. Insets show metafluid at different levels of compression. Tunable optics: (d) Relative transmittance T as function of pressure Pext. (e) Logo displayed below the metafluid is clearer for Pext exceeds critical pressure (collapsed capsules). (f) Contrast C as function of the pressure Pext.

A team lead by Bertoldi and Weitz has successfully demonstrated the potential of utilizing reversible buckling of elastomeric shells to create a novel class of metafluids. These metafluids exhibit nonlinear elasticity, switchable optical properties, and tunable viscosity. Their versatility provides new opportunities for developing soft adaptive grippers and reconfigurable logic gates. Moreover, it is anticipated that the programmability of these metafluids will have significant implications for thermodynamic and acoustic properties, enabling the enhancement of thermodynamic cycles and customizable sound propagation.

Djellouli, A., B.V. Raemdonck, Y. Wang, Y. Yang, A. Caillaud, D.A Weitz, S. Rubinstein, B. Gorissen, and K. Bertoldi, "Shell buckling for programmable metafluids," Nature (2024) open doi in new window open pdf in new window

Katia Bertoldi (Mechanical Engineering) and David A. Weitz (Physics & Applied Physics)
2023-2024 Harvard MRSEC (DMR-2011754)