Saturday, February 19, 2011

Plants that can move inspire new adaptive structures

Plants that can move inspire new adaptive structures: Researchers at U-M and Penn State University are studying how plants like the Mimosa can change shape, and they're working to replicate the mechanisms in artificial cells. Today, their artificial cells are palm-size and larger. But they're trying to shrink them by building them with microstructures and nanofibers. They're also exploring how to replicate the mechanisms by which plants heal themselves.
"We want to put it all together to create hyper-cellular structures with circulatory networks," Wang said...
The phenomenon is made possible by osmosis, the flow of water in and out of plants' cells. Triggers such as touch cause water to leave certain plant cells, collapsing them. Water enters other cells, expanding them.

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