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Domain game

The team looked for ways to create magnetic “domains,” which are individual sections of a structure with different orientations of magnetic particles, rather than creating structures with magnetic particles of the same orientation.Depending on the direction in which its particles move in response to the magnetic field, each section should move differently when exposed to a magnetic field from the outside.

The group reasoned that structures ought to perform more intricate articulations and movements in this manner.The researchers can print sections, or domains, of a structure using their new 3-D-printing platform. They can also adjust the orientation of magnetic particles in a particular domain by changing the direction of the electromagnet that surrounds the printer’s nozzle as the domain is printed.

A physical model that predicts how a printed structure will deform under a magnetic field was also developed by the group.The model is able to predict how a structure as a whole will deform or move based on the pattern of domains in a structure, the elasticity of the printed material, and how an external magnetic field is applied.Ruike discovered that the team’s experiments with a variety of printed structures closely matched the predictions of the model.

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