Skip to main content Accessibility help

Bioenergetics and mechanical actuation analysis with membrane transport experiments for use in biomimetic nastic structures

  • Luke Matthews (a1), Vishnu Baba Sundaresan (a2), Victor Giurgiutiu (a1) and Donald J. Leo (a2)


Nastic structures are synthetic constructs capable of controllable deformation and shape change similar to plant motility, designed to imitate the biological process of nastic movement found in plants. This paper considers the mechanics and bioenergetics of a prototype nastic structure system consisting of an array of cylindrical microhydraulic actuators embedded in a polymeric plate. Non-uniform expansion/contraction of the actuators in the array may yield an overall shape change resulting in structural morphing. Actuator expansion/contraction is achieved through pressure changes produced by active transport across a bilayer membrane. The active transport process relies on ion-channel proteins that pump sucrose and water molecules across a plasma membrane against the pressure gradient. The energy required by this process is supplied by the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate. After reviewing the biochemistry and bioenergetics of the active transport process, the paper presents an analysis of the microhydraulic actuator mechanics predicting the resulting displacement and output energy. Experimental demonstration of fluid transport through a protein transporter follows this discussion. The bilayer membrane is formed from 1-Palmitoyl-2-Oleoyl-sn-Glycero-3-[Phospho-L-Serine] (Sodium Salt), 1-Palmitoyl-2-Oleoyl-sn-Glycero- 3-Phosphoethanolamine lipids to support the AtSUT4 H+-sucrose cotransporter.


Corresponding author

a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:


Hide All
1.Leo, D., Sundaresan, V.B., Tan, H., and Cuppoletti, J.: Investigation on high energy density materials utilizing biological transport mechanisms, in Proceedings of ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, November 13–20, 2004, Anaheim, CA. ASME-IMECE2004-60714.
2.Sundaresan, V.B. and Leo, D.: Chemomechanical model of biological membranes for actuation mechanisms, in Proceedings of SPIE-2005 Smart Structures Conference, March 3–8, 2005, San Diego, CA. SPIE-5761-15.
3.Giurgiutiu, V., Leo, D., Sundaresan, V.B., and Matthews, L.: Concepts for energy and power analysis in nastic structures, in Proceedings of ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, November 5–11, 2005, Orlando, FL. ASME-IMECE2005-82786.
4.Morillon, R., Lienard, D., Chrispeels, M., Lassalles, J.: Rapid movements of plants organs require solute-water cotransporters or contractile proteins. Plant Physiol. 127, 720 (2001).
5.Forterre, Y., Skotheim, J.M., Dumais, J., Mahadevan, L.: How the venus flytrap snaps. Nature 433, 421 (2005).
6.Weiland, L. and Homison, C.: Coupled transport/hyperelastic model for nastic materials, in Proceedings of ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, November 5–11, 2005, Orlando, FL. ASME-IMECE2005-79387.
7.Maute, K., Dunn, M., Howard, M., Bischel, R., and Pajot, J.: Multiscale design of vascular plants, in Proceedings of ASME International Mehcanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, November 5–11, 2005, Orlando, FL, ASME-IMECE2005-82203, 2005.
8.Leo, D. and Sundaresan, V.B.: Experimental investigation for chemo-mechanical actuation using biological transport mechanisms, in Proceedings of ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference & Exposition, November 5–11, Orlando, FL. ASME-IMECE2005-81366.
9.Cronlund, S., Forseth, I.: Heliotropic leaf movement response To H+/ATPase activation, H+/ATPase inhibition, and K+ channel inhibition in vivo. Am. J. Bot. 82, 1507 (1995).
10.Rea, P., Poole, R.: Proton-translocating inorganic pyrophosphatase in red beet (Beta Vulgaris L.) tonoplast vesicles. Plant Physiol. 77, 46 (1985).
11.Nelson, D., Cox, M.: Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (Worth Publishers, 2000).
12.Segel, I.: Biochemical Calculations—How to Solve Mathematical Problems in Biochemistry (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1976).
13.Hope, A.B.: Ion Transport and Membranes—A Biophysical Outline (University Park Press, Baltimore, MD, 1971).
14.Quastel, J.H. Transport at cell membranes and regulation of cell metabolism, in Membrane Transport and Metabolism (Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 1960).
15.Massonnet, Cg. Two dimensional problems, in Handbook of Engineering Mechanics edited by Flugge, W. (McGraw-Hill, 1962), Chap. 37.
16.Timoshenko, S., Woinowsky-Krieger, S.: Theory of Plates and Shells (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1959).
17.Wan, K., Guo, S., Dillard, D.: A theoretical and numerical study of a thin clamped circular film under an external load in the presence of a tensile residual stress. Thin Solid Films 425, 150 (2003).
18.Wan, K., Lim, S.: The bending to stretching transition of a pressurized blister test. Int. J. Fract. 92, L43 (1998).
19.Cadogan, D., Smith, T., Uhelsky, F., MacKusick, M. Morphing inflatable wing development for compact package unmanned aerial vehicles. Am. Inst. Aeronautics Astronautics—Adaptive Struct. Forum (2005).
20.Bürkle, L., Hibberd, J.M., Quick, W.P., Khn, B.H. Christina, Frommer, W.B.: The H+-sucrose cotransporter ATSUT1: Is essential for sugar export from tobacco leaves. Plant Physiol. 118, 5968 (1998).
21.Steinem, C., Janshoff, A., Ulrich, W.P., Sieber, M., Galla, H.J.: Impedance analysis of supported lipid bilayer membranes: A scrutiny of different preparation techniques. Molec. Cell. Bio. Lett. 1279, 169 (1996).
22.Voet, D., Voet, J.G.: Biochemistry (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1995).



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed