ME:6191 Graduate Seminar - Sameh Tawfick, PhD

Thursday, February 4, 2021, 3:30pm to 4:20pm
Online venue, Email for Zoom meeting link
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242

Bioinspired materials for robotics: from polymorphic hair to insect-scale jumping robots

Abstract: Recent understanding of biological materials could enable unusual material systems for emerging bio-inspired robots. In my talk, I will present two such examples.

In the first example, I will discuss multifunctional hairs for polymorphic robotic skins. Hairs are long aspect ratio slender structures, which derive their functionality from their continuous morphing ability. In nature, hair and fur are ubiquitous and their functions range from active thermal regulation, to signaling and camouflage. However, studies of such long hairs are challenging due to their large deformations and granular like jamming, especially due to interaction with liquids. Based on our understanding of dynamic elastocapillarity, we harness these complex interactions to design hair material systems which can morph their shape and color for a variety of skin functions.

In the second example, I will describe the use of artificial muscle fibers in the actuation of insect-scale jumping robots. Coiled artificial muscles are made from commercially available Nylon fishing lines, yet they achieve record breaking work capacity, high load and stroke due to their nonlinear mechanics. We demonstrate the coupling of coiled artificial muscles to buckling beams to actuate insect scale jumping robots. We will show the design and mechanics principles of snap-through buckling actuation leading to simple insect-scale robots that can jump up to 20 times their own height.

These two examples shed light on an exciting roadmap at the intersection of bioinspired materials and nonlinear mechanics principles for use in robotics.

Bio: Sam Tawfick is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering and at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research is focused on synthesis, self-assembly and mechanical behavior of material. Tawfick obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan and was a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT.  He is the recipient of the AFOSR Young Investigator Program, the Chao and Trigger Young Manufacturing Engineer from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), The Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Illinois, the Robert M. Caddell Memorial Award for outstanding research in manufacturing, the Azarkhin Award and the Ivor K. McIvor Award for outstanding research in applied mechanics from the University of Michigan.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Caterina Lamuta in advance at 319-467-0332 or