Triangle MRSEC researchers
have invented a new technology for the use of electrical voltages to
dynamically generate various patterns on curved surfaces and over large areas,
such as the surfaces of gloves.
The applied voltages deform flat surfaces of rubbers into patterns of creases,
lines, and craters. The patterns can be random, aligned or curved, and their
feature sizes can be tuned from micrometers to millimeters. As the voltages are
withdrawn, the surfaces recover their initial flat state. As a result, the texture and smoothness of these surfaces can
be varied on demand for a wide variety of applications.
The technology is based on harnessing electromechanical instabilities of soft
polymers under electrical fields.