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Propulsion Mechanism of Catalytic Microjet Engines

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6 Author(s)
Vladimir M. Fomin ; Inst. for Integrative Nanosci., Leibniz Inst. for Solid State & Mater. Res. Dresden, Dresden, Germany ; Markus Hippler ; Veronika Magdanz ; Lluís Soler
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We describe the propulsion mechanism of the catalytic microjet engines that are fabricated using rolled-up nanotech. Microjets have recently shown numerous potential applications in nanorobotics but currently there is a lack of an accurate theoretical model that describes the origin of the motion as well as the mechanism of self-propulsion. The geometric asymmetry of a tubular microjet leads to the development of a capillary force, which tends to propel a bubble toward the larger opening of the tube. Because of this motion in an asymmetric tube, there emerges a momentum transfer to the fluid. In order to compensate this momentum transfer, a jet force acting on the tube occurs. This force, which is counterbalanced by the linear drag force, enables tube velocities of the order of 100 μm/s. This mechanism provides a fundamental explanation for the development of driving forces that are acting on bubbles in tubular microjets.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Robotics  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 1 )