Self-Assembling Gears

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Self-Assembling Gears
« on: July 24, 2009, 07:00:04 PM »
Self-Assembling Gears

The title is a bit sensational and somewhat misleading but the

technique created by Engineers at Columbia University
to utilize thermal expansion characteristics of dissimilar materials to
mechanical devices could prove very useful in building small-scale
A thin metal film is deposited on to a special polymer.
When the temperature is reduced, wrinkles form in the
composite material based on the structure's design due to the
differing thermal expansion characteristics of the materials.
These wrinkles can be made to produce formations such as gear
teeth and other mechanical components.
After the item is formed, a hardening process is used to fix the device's
shape permanently.
The application for micro and nano-scale machines is promising
because of its simplicity and low production cost.


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