Active granular particles can harness unbiased mechanical vibrations in the environment to generate directed motion. We provide a theoretical framework that connects the geometrical shape of a three dimensional object to its self-propulsion characteristics over a vertically vibrated plate. We find that a maximally efficient propulsion is achieved for structures having tilted flexible legs forming a characteristic angle with the vertical. Our predictions are verified by experimental observations on a class of 3D printed structures with smoothly varying geometrical features.
Mechanism of self-propulsion in 3D-printed active granular particles / Koumakis, N.; Gnoli, A.; Maggi, Claudio; Puglisi, Andrea; Di Leonardo, R.. - In: NEW JOURNAL OF PHYSICS. - ISSN 1367-2630. - 18:11(2016), p. 113046. [10.1088/1367-2630/18/11/113046]