Princeton researchers found they could coat a liquid elastic on the outside of a disc and spin it to form useful, complex patterns. When spun just right, tiny spindles rise from the material as it cures. The spindles grow as the disc accelerates, forming a soft solid that resembles hairs.
Inspired by biological designs and rationalized with mathematical precision, the new method could be used at an industrial scale for production with plastics, glasses, metals and smart materials.
The researchers published their findings on Feb. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.