Popcorn made the engine for robots
American scientists from Cornell University suggested to use the corn as a driving force for robots.
American scientists from Cornell University suggested to use the corn as a driving force for robots. It is reported by IEEE Spectrum.
Engineers have studied three types of grains of corn, four methods of heating and their influence on the characteristics of the extension: heating with hot air or oil, microwaves and metal wire. Based on this scientists have created prototypes of actuators, which are moved due to the expansion of the heated grains. One of them raised a weight of 100 grams with 36 grains.
The water in the grains when heated turns to steam, and starch is softened, but durable shell of the grain constrains the internal pressure. At 200 degrees Celsius, the pressure inside the grain becomes critical, causing membrane ruptures, and pairs along with a dramatically expanded starch.
After that, the starch cools rapidly and forms a three-dimensional matrix with much larger volume than the original grain. Thus, the grains expand and cause the entire structure to expand and Flex.
In addition, the researchers created a mechanical grip and origami-design of the paper, the driving force of which were also corn kernels. According to scientists, the study of the driving properties of popcorn can help in the development of more sophisticated designs.