Endoskeleton droplets

Project summary

We have a way of producing microstructured droplets that can stably hold a non-spherical shape and can used for enhanced delivery to biological and other surfaces. The collapse of these droplets, which can be caused by changes in interfacial tension or in rheology, can controllably change the shape of the droplets and make them grab onto surrounding surfaces. In order to understand the dynamics of the collapse we need to explore the extremes of behaviour they can exhibit by triggering their collapse under the microscope and quantifying their motion and its speed. Below is a reference to the article on our production of these droplets as well as an article that predicts the limits on the speed of response of elastic materials. I think we can use the latter article to design new droplets, new shapes, and new functions. The droplets we produced by molding can also be made by microfluidics, so we have many of the same size and shape. We think they will be very useful at enhancing deposition onto surfaces like hair and fabric.

  1. Caggioni, M., Bayles, A. V., Lenis, J., Furst, E. M. and Spicer, P. T., Soft Matter 10, 7647–7652 (2014).
  2. Skotheim, J. and Mahadevan, L. Physical Limits and Design Principles for Plant and Fungal Movements. Science 308, 1308–1310 (2005).

Our patent applications on the drops:

  1. Shape-changing droplet
  2. Non-spherical droplet

Project objectives

  • Hair and fabric can be modeled as filters, study the effects of size and shape of droplets on their flow in ideal laminar flows and then their deposition onto model surfaces like filter mesh or other porous targets.
  • Produce drops in a microfluidic channel, observe their flow, and quantify their deposition efficiency via microscope.
  • Link different sizes, shapes, changes in shape, and surface chemistries to deposition performance.