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Bernal Institute Research Forum

Wed, 25 Apr 2018

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Time: 12:00 to 13:00
Duration: One hour
Location: MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension, Ireland

Dr Michael Dicker, University of Bristol.

Photo-Actuation: Exploring the use of Light, Chemistry and Composites for the Creation of Novel Artificial Muscle Systems.

Light is a very attractive medium for energy transmission on account of the excellent spatial and temporal control with which it can be applied. However, as a form of energy it doesn’t lend itself to such concepts as storage or complex approaches to integrating logic into smart structures. As such, we have been looking into novel strategies to use combinations of light and chemistry to power and control actuators. Here we present two photo-actuation systems that incorporate chemical energy in different ways to mimic both plant and animal approaches to movement. While this has resulted in some really interesting systems, the raw actuation performance of these devices remains poor. In the final part of this talk concepts for improving actuation performance through the use of composite materials will be discussed.

Bio of Dr Michael Dicker Dr Michael Dicker is originally from Australia, where he completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wollongong. For this degree he completed a dissertation on morphing composite wind turbine blades, which would lead him to examine the possibility of doing a research degree in in this area. After a number of years in heavy industry Michael moved to the University of Bristol to conduct a PhD in composite materials. Here he became interested in biomimetic actuation, a topic which became the subject of his thesis (completed in 2016). Michael was employed as the research associate on Professor Paul Weaver’s Photo-Actuation Leverhulme Project from 2015 through 2018, and has now commenced his own Leverhulme funded early career fellowship exploring novel-catalytic systems to power actuation.

Tea/coffee will be available at 12h00.

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