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Reconfigurable surfaces with controlled stretching and shearing: from biological templates to engineering devices

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DNMW03 - Optimal design of soft matter - including a celebration of Women in Materials Science (WMS)

In recent years, we have studied locomotion and shape control in Euglena gracilis using a broad range of tools ranging from theoretical and computational mechanics, to experiment and observations at the microscope, to manufacturing of prototypes.

As a concrete example, the behavior of Euglena gracilis is particularly interesting.This unicellular protist is particularly intriguing because it can adopt different motility strategies: swimming by flagellar propulsion, or crawling thanks to large amplitude shape changes of the whole body (a behavior known as metaboly).

We will survey our most recent findings [1-4] within this stream of research.

This is joint work with M. Arroyo, G. Cicconofri, A. Lucantonio, and G. Noselli, and is supported by ERC Advanced Grant 340685-MicroMotility.

[1] Rossi, M., Cicconofri, G., Beran, A., Noselli, G., DeSimone, A.: “Kinematics of flagellar swimming in Euglena gracilis: Helical trajectories and flagellar shapes”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114 (50), 13085-13090 (2017).
[2] Noselli, G., Beran, A., Arroyo, M., DeSimone, A.: “Swimming Euglena respond to confinement with a behavioral change enabling effective crawling”, Nature Physics, 2019.
[3] Noselli, G., Arroyo, M., DeSimone, A.: “Smart helical structures inspired by the pellicles of euglenids”, J. Mech Phys Solids 123, 234-246 (2019).
[4] Caruso, N., Cvetkovic, A., Lucantonio, A., Noselli, G., DeSimone, A.: “Spontaneous morphing of equibiaxially pre-stretched elastic bilayers: The role of sample geometry”, Int J Mech Sci 149, 481-486 (2018).

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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