Bio-inspired and computer-supported design of modulated shape changes in polymer materials


The Venus flytrap is a fascinating plant with a finely tuned mechanical bi-stable system, which can switch between mono- and bi-stability. Here, we combine geometrical design of compliant mechanics and the function of shape-memory polymers to enable switching between bi- and mono-stable states. Digital design and modelling using the Chained Beam Constraint Model forecasted two geometries, which were experimentally realized as structured films of cross-linked poly[ethylene-co-(vinyl acetate)] supported by digital manufacturing. Mechanical evaluation confirmed our predicted features. We demonstrated that a shape-memory effect could switch between bi- and mono-stability for the same construct, effectively imitating the Venus flytrap.
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