Building with fluids: a lazy approach to fabrication

Sep 6, 2023, 4:00 pm5:00 pm
Princeton faculty/staff/students only.



Event Description

In nature, organized arrays of elements arise spontaneously from the interactions between their component parts, e.g., in reaction-diffusion problems, clustering colloidal particles and granular media, wrinkling surfaces, propagating cracks and flowing liquids. Inspired by these ubiquitous processes, I will discuss several strategies aiming to harness mechanical instabilities in flowing liquids: coiling, droplet formation, digitation, drainage, capillary suction, and use the regular shapes and universally self-organized patterns they naturally produce as templates for materials design. Specifically, these flows are "frozen" as the liquids we use solidify into solid through curing, cooling, or evaporation. The shapes and patterns they form are universal and transcend the traditional divisions between scientific fields or even between living and inert matter. I will show that these similarities result from the mathematical analogies in the rules that govern pattern formation. In turn, I will demonstrate how to compose with these rules to augment our manufacturing capabilities, e.g., in soft robotics.