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Popcorn made the engine for robots

American scientists from Cornell University offered to use the expansion of corn kernels as a driving force for robots. This is reported by IEEE Spectrum.

Engineers studied three types of corn kernels, four ways of heating and their effect on expansion characteristics: heating with hot air or oil, microwaves and metal wire. On the basis of this, scientists created prototypes of drives that moved by expanding the heated grains. One of them raised a cargo weighing 100 grams with the help of 36 grains.

The water in the grains becomes vapor when heated, and the starch softens, but the solid shell of the grain holds back the internal pressure. At 200 degrees Celsius, the pressure inside the grain becomes critical, which causes the shell to burst, and the steam, together with the starch, expand sharply.

After that, the starch quickly cools and forms a volume matrix of a much larger volume than the original grain. Thus, the grains expand and cause the entire structure to expand and flex.

In addition, the researchers created a mechanical grip and origami-construction of paper, the driving force which also became corn kernels. According to scientists, research on the driving properties of popcorn can help in the development of more advanced designs.

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