Electrowetting propulsion of water-floating objects

Sang Kug Chung; Kyungjoo Ryu; Sung Kwon Cho
July 2009
Applied Physics Letters;7/6/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 1, p014107
Academic Journal
This letter describes a propulsion principle along with experimental verification of this principle by which an air-to-water interface vertically oscillated by ac electrowetting generates a quasisteady, “streaming” flow that can be utilized to propel water-floating objects. This propulsion does not require any mechanical moving parts. Using a centimeter-sized boat whose outer surfaces were covered with microfabricated electrowetting electrodes, linear, and rotational motions of the boat were achieved up to maximum speeds of 5 mm/s and 20 rpm, respectively. By combining the above two motions, the boat was successfully propelled and steered along a curvilinear pathline. A potential application of this principle is to propel and maneuver various water-floating mini/microrobots and boats used for water/air quality monitoring or surveillance/security purposes.


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