(488i) Synchronization and Traveling Waves within Arrays of Electrostatic Oscillators
AIChE Annual Meeting
2017 Annual Meeting
Engineering Sciences and Fundamentals
Interfacial Transport Phenomena
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 10:11am to 10:27am
In Nature, large numbers of molecular-scale actuators work together to achieve macroscopic functions such as locomotion. The pursuit of artificial systems capable of similar dynamic functions requires strategies by which to coordinate the motion of many active components. One such approach relies on the spontaneous synchronization of mechanical oscillators coupled together within spatially distributed arrays. This talk describes how linear arrays of electrostatic oscillators can synchronize to create traveling waves that persists over distances and times much larger than those of the individual oscillators. The motion of each oscillator relies on contact charge electrophoresis (CCEP) of a conductive particle between two parallel electrodes. Electrostatic interactions between neighboring oscillators guide the selection of a preferred wavelength, which depends on the geometry of the array. Detailed simulations that account for the many body electrostatic interactions among the charged, polarizable particles reproduce the key experimental observations and offer insights into the mechanisms underlying traveling wave synchronization. We demonstrate how these traveling waves can be harnessed to do mechanical work, with potential opportunities in the areas of colloidal machines and soft robotics.