Biomechanics of Venus flytrap’s rapid motion

The rapid motion of carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap — one of the fastest movements in the plant kingdom — has been studied extensively by biologists, physicists, chemists, and engineers since Darwin's pioneering work. Nevertheless, the biomechanical principles that drive these nastic movements have just started gaining attention in the past decade and many explanations are still under debate. We aim to systematically investigate the asymmetric nature of the Venus flytrap's rapid closure at both macroscopic and microscopic scales by state-of-the-art experimental techniques, theoretical modeling, and numerical simulations. The insights gained will help characterize and potentially modify mechanical behaviors of the flytrap through the tailoring of governing features, as well as inspiring the design of smart devices, materials, and systems with switchable morphologies.

Faculty contact: Zi Chen