Research ArticleENGINEERING

Bioinspired mechanical device generates plasma in water via cavitation

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Science Advances  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau7765
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7765

Abstract

Nature can generate plasma in liquids more efficiently than human-designed devices using electricity, acoustics, or light. In the animal world, snapping shrimp can induce cavitation that collapses to produce high pressures and temperatures, leading to efficient plasma formation with photon and shock wave emission via energy focusing. Here, we report a bioinspired mechanical device that mimics the plasma generation technique of the snapping shrimp. This device was manufactured using additive manufacturing based on micro–x-ray computed tomography of a snapping shrimp claw molt. A spring fixture was designed to reliably actuate the claw with appropriate force and velocity to produce a high-speed water jet that matches the cavitation number and Reynolds number of the shrimp. Light emission and shocks were imaged, which indicate that our device reproduces the shrimp’s plasma generation technique and is more efficient than other plasma generation methods.

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