Smart skins are integrating an increasing number of functionalities to improve the interactions between the equipped systems (robots or artificial systems) and their ambient environment. Here, we introduce a controllable texture as a new functionality, based on an innovative soft technology that leverages the strong electro-mechanical coupling of our all-polymer design, which can be easily embedded to a wide range of systems. The device comprises a polymer-based heating element [doped PEDOT:PSS (poly-(3,4 ethylenedioxythiophene): poly (styrene sulfonic acid))], a polymer-based soft actuator (Ecoflex 00–50/ethanol) and a polymer-based casing [PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane)]. We introduce a smart pipe prototype module and use our controllable polymorph skin to tailor the interaction between the pipe and the fluid. This allows us to obtain a 50% reduction of the friction coefficient in turbulent regime, between non-actuated and actuated configurations. This concept may find applications in engineering fields such as smart skin-based touch control and controllable friction coefficients.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1315-01-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Baseline Research Funds award number BAS/1/1315-01-01. Authors are thankful to Dr Jian Zhou from the COHMAS Laboratory, KAUST, who provided assistance with sample preparation. Authors are also thankful to Ulrich Buttner from the Microfluidics Laboratory at the Nanofabrication Core Laboratory, KAUST.