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Light Activated Polymers

Soft active materials have received increasing interests recently. Here, soft materials can broadly refer to polymers, elastomers, hydrogel gels. Active materials mean that these materials can respond to external stimuli. Examples of soft active materials include shape memory polymers, environmentally responsive hydrogels, liquid crystal elastomers, etc.

Recently, two very interesting soft materials were developed by Lendlein et al (2005, Nature 434 (7035), 879) and Scott et al. (2005, Science 308 (5728), 1615), respectively. Both materials have been demonstrated to generate motion in response to light (Jiang, et al, 2006, Advanced Materials 18 (11), 1471; Scott, et al, 2006, Advanced Materials 18 (16), 2128). Inspired by the interesting response of these materials, we recently developed a constitutive model that can describe the multiphyisical behaviors of these materials. In the attached paper, the model frame can be applied to both Lendlein's and Scott's materials. However, because we only have access to Scott's material, comparison between model prediction and experiment was only made the Scott' material.  We hope this paper can motivate more interest from mechanicians to investigate the exciting soft active materials.

PDF icon JMPS_Photo.pdf808.64 KB


Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Jerry:

Thank you so much for posting this exciting new paper.  I read through it quickly, and will study it slowly soon.  But I'd like to ask you a question now.  

In Section 3, you formulated a theory for an evolving network, using ideas described by Alan Wineman and others.  My students and I have been thinking about networks formed by physical crosslinks, such as Ca++ and hydrogen bonds.  

Do you think that the approach of Wineman et al. can also be applied to physcially crosslinked networks?  Have you seen any papers modeling such evolving networks?    


Both Wineman and we propose that there could be scission of old network and formation of new network, alhtough the physics underneath Wineman's is different from ours. I saw Xuanhe's work last year during the ASME congress and I think the model should be applicable to Xuanhe's material. The difference might be the evolution rules because the physics are different.


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