BIOINSPIRED PASSIVE DISPENSING OF ADHESIVE LIQUID | BEAMS

BIOINSPIRED PASSIVE DISPENSING OF ADHESIVE LIQUID

PhD information
Status: 
Proposal (funding available)
Start date: 
01/10/2016
End date: 
30/09/2020
Research unit: 
Micro-Bio-Mechatronics
Research theme: 
Surface Tension In Microsystems
Funding: 
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS
BEAMS supervisors
Promoter
External supervisors
Prof. Tristan GILET
Co-promoter

http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index.cfm/jobs/jobDetails/34067240

 

A 4-year scholarship for a PhD student is available at the BEAMS Laboratory (Université Libre de Bruxelles - ULB, Belgium), in partnership with the Microfluidics Lab (University of Liege - ULg). It is open in the framework of a 4-year research project funded by the FNRS.

The goal of this thesis is to understand the liquid dispensing mechanism at play in the terrestrial locomotion of insects, and to engineer accordingly a biomimetic robotic device for the pick-and-place of microcomponents.

Description

The goal of this thesis is to understand the liquid dispensing mechanism at play in the terrestrial locomotion of insects, and to engineer accordingly a biomimetic robotic device for the pick-and-place of microcomponents.
Indeed, in nature, capillary forces shape the microscopic realm. However their use in microengineering is currently limited by the lack of a robust handling strategy of the tiny volumes of liquid involved. Most insects rely on capillary forces for terrestrial locomotion. Some (incl. beetles) have hairy adhesive pads on their legs that provide fast and reversible attachment on almost any substrate. A femtoliter of liquid is passively dispensed to the tip of each hair, where it forms a bridge with the substrate and provides robust capillary adhesion. Liquid footprints are minimized when the pad detaches.
This PhD project aims at understanding and mimicking the liquid management strategy of these hairy pads. Through a biomimetic approach involving a combination of experiments and modeling, the PhD student will determine the optimal kinematics of pad detachment that minimizes liquid residuals on the substrate. He/she will design a prototype of capillary micro-gripper accordingly. The prototype will be fabricated with different high-tech manufacturing techniques, among which the 3D nanoprinter Nanoscribe (www.nanoscribe.de) recently installed in the group.

The PhD student will be supervised jointly by Professors Lambert (ULB) and Gilet (ULg). In 2020, he/she may obtain a PhD degree from both institutions. He/she will be based in Brussels, with regular visits to Liège and collaboration with the biologist Philippe Compère (ULg). He/she will also join the IAP research network microMAST dedicated to the fundamentals and applications of surface tension in engineering.

Interested people should send electronically the following documents to Profs. Gilet & Lambert: cover letter, resume, transcript of grades & ranking, and any other document that may be useful to support the application (e.g. publications, master's thesis, project report). They should also ask two recommendation letters from their professors (possibly including the Master's thesis advisor). These letters should be signed and sent by email by the professors. Before being hired, the applicant will have to provide a European equivalent of his/her Master's diploma. Applicants will be interviewed as soon as they apply. The starting date must be between July 1 and October 1, 2016.

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