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Lectures on Soft Active Materials, 3rd edition

Zhigang Suo's picture

At the invitation of Yonggang Huang, I’ll give 4-hour lectures at the NSF Summer Institute Course on the Mechanics of Soft Materials.   I attach the slides of the lectures, to be given on Monday, 10 May 2010.  An abstract of the lectures follows.

Soft materials, such as elastomers and gels, can be made active in that they can undergo large deformation in response to diverse stimuli, including force, voltage, temperature, pH, salinity, and trace amount of enzymes. For example, an elastomer may strain more than 100% under a voltage. As another example, a gel can imbibe a large quantity of solvent and swell thousand times its initial volume. These soft active materials are ubiquitous in tissues of animals and plants, and are exploited in creating familiar commercial products such as contact lenses and superabsorbent diapers. Intense efforts are being devoted to developing these materials for applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, soft robots, adaptive optics, self-regulating fluidics, and programmable haptic surfaces.

Professor Suo will teach the theory of soft active materials, relating nonlinear continuum mechanics to thermodynamics of multiple driving forces and kinetics of molecular processes. The theory addresses commonly asked questions. How do non-mechanical stimuli such as pH and salinity generate deformation and force? How do deformation and mass transport couple? What is the maximal energy that a material can convert from one form of energy to another? How might we exploit instabilities associated with large deformation? The theory is related to phenomena in nature and engineering, as well as to ongoing experimental and computational work.

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