Bioinspired cilia help understand which movement pattern generates maximal fluid flows

12 November 2020 Press Release Stuttgart Linda Behringer
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Inspired by biological cilia (left), the artificial cilia arrays (right) pump fluid and transport particles efficiently thanks to their optimally coordinated movement.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, develop artificial cilia that can be programmed to move in waves. In experiments, the researchers show how the millimeter-small cilia can pump viscous liquids just as effectively as their natural counterparts. Their research helps shed light on the mystery regarding which movement pattern generates a maximal fluid flow. Published in Science Advances, their findings contribute to a better understanding of the biomechanics of real cilia, and to the development of miniature robotic pumping devices that could one day be used inside the human body.

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cilia cilium Metin Sitti Physical Intelligence Department miniature robots medical devices Science Advances