The effect of size-scale on the kinematics of elastic energy release

Soft Matter. 2019 Nov 27;15(46):9579-9586. doi: 10.1039/c9sm00870e.


Elastically-driven motion has been used as a strategy to achieve high speeds in small organisms and engineered micro-robotic devices. We examine the size-scaling relations determining the limit of elastic energy release from elastomer bands that efficiently cycle mechanical energy with minimal loss. The maximum center-of-mass velocity of the elastomer bands was found to be size-scale independent, while smaller bands demonstrated larger accelerations and shorter durations of elastic energy release. Scaling relationships determined from these measurements are consistent with the performance of small organisms and engineered devices which utilize elastic elements to power motion.