Special Issue "Soft Materials"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Stephan Rudykh
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soft materials is an increasingly active field of research driving science and technology into new exciting directions. Large deformations coupled with various multiphysics phenomena and instabilities at different length scales open an immensely rich research arena. This offers unique opportunities to develop multifunctional materials and devices with novel properties, through the targeted design of material composition and microstructural geometry. Moreover, soft materials represent essential components in biological tissues, a topic of extreme interest for bio-medical applications.

This Special Issue will focus on recent experimental, computational, theoretical and manufacturing advances in the broad field of Soft Materials.

Prof. Dr. Stephan Rudykh
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Electroactive and magnetoactive elastomers (EAP, DE, MRE, MAE, IPMC)
  • Hydrogels and other soft wet materials
  • Liquid crystal elastomers
  • Shape-memory and light-sensitive polymers
  • Instabilities in soft materials
  • Fracture, and adhesion in soft materials
  • Soft biological and bio-inspired materials
  • Multiphysics phenomena in soft materials
  • Wave propagation and dynamics of soft materials
  • 3D/4D printing and fabrication of soft materials
  • Soft Robotics or Machines
  • Mechanical Metamaterials

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Engineering Gels with Time-Evolving Viscoelasticity
Materials 2020, 13(2), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020438 - 16 Jan 2020
Abstract
From a mechanical point of view, a native extracellular matrix (ECM) is viscoelastic. It also possesses time-evolving or dynamic behaviour, since pathophysiological processes such as ageing alter their mechanical properties over time. On the other hand, biomaterial research on mechanobiology has focused mainly [...] Read more.
From a mechanical point of view, a native extracellular matrix (ECM) is viscoelastic. It also possesses time-evolving or dynamic behaviour, since pathophysiological processes such as ageing alter their mechanical properties over time. On the other hand, biomaterial research on mechanobiology has focused mainly on the development of substrates with varying stiffness, with a few recent contributions on time- or space-dependent substrate mechanics. This work reports on a new method for engineering dynamic viscoelastic substrates, i.e., substrates in which viscoelastic parameters can change or evolve with time, providing a tool for investigating cell response to the mechanical microenvironment. In particular, a two-step (chemical and enzymatic) crosslinking strategy was implemented to modulate the viscoelastic properties of gelatin hydrogels. First, gels with different glutaraldehyde concentrations were developed to mimic a wide range of soft tissue viscoelastic behaviours. Then their mechanical behaviour was modulated over time using microbial transglutaminase. Typically, enzymatically induced mechanical alterations occurred within the first 24 h of reaction and then the characteristic time constant decreased although the elastic properties were maintained almost constant for up to seven days. Preliminary cell culture tests showed that cells adhered to the gels, and their viability was similar to that of controls. Thus, the strategy proposed in this work is suitable for studying cell response and adaptation to temporal variations of substrate mechanics during culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Influence of Inhomogeneous Interphase Layers on Instabilities in Hyperelastic Composites
Materials 2019, 12(5), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12050763 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Polymer-based three-dimensional (3D) printing—such as the UV-assisted layer-by-layer polymerization technique—enables fabrication of deformable microstructured materials with pre-designed properties. However, the properties of such materials require careful characterization. Thus, for example, in the polymerization process, a new interphase zone is formed at the boundary [...] Read more.
Polymer-based three-dimensional (3D) printing—such as the UV-assisted layer-by-layer polymerization technique—enables fabrication of deformable microstructured materials with pre-designed properties. However, the properties of such materials require careful characterization. Thus, for example, in the polymerization process, a new interphase zone is formed at the boundary between two constituents. This article presents a study of the interphasial transition zone effect on the elastic instability phenomenon in hyperelastic layered composites. In this study, three different types of the shear modulus distribution through the thickness of the interphasial layer were considered. Numerical Bloch-Floquet analysis was employed, superimposed on finite deformations to detect the onset of instabilities and the associated critical wavelength. Significant changes in the buckling behavior of the composites were observed because of the existence of the interphasial inhomogeneous layers. Interphase properties influence the onset of instabilities and the buckling patterns. Numerical simulations showed that interlayer inhomogeneity may result in higher stability of composites with respect to classical layup constructions of identical shear stiffness. Moreover, we found that the critical wavelength of the buckling mode can be regulated by the inhomogeneous interphase properties. Finally, a qualitative illustration of the effect is presented for 3D-printed deformable composites with varying thickness of the stiff phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Materials)
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