Stimulus-responsive materials and smart structures

We are interested in the mechanical behavior of stimulus-responsive materials and smart structures. These include soft active materials which deform in response to a variety of external stimulus, ranging from mechanical loads, electricity, temperature, and chemical conditions.

Why soft active materials: Ubiquitous in nature and daily life, soft active materials are also envisioned to be the building blocks for a new generation of soft machines and devices, such as wearable power generators, stretchable sensors, and soft robots. However these materials present new challenges in modelling and simulation, due to nonlinear mechanics, coupled fields, and multiple physics.

What are our aims:

– Developing theoretical models for various soft materials, such as elastomers which exhibit large deformation, instabilities, and viscoelasticity. Their behavior may often include multiple phenomena coupled together, such as electrical, mechanical, or chemical processes.

– Developing our modeling and simulation capabilities for these materials. Such efforts include: (1) implementing specialized numerical methods to solve boundary-value problems; and (2) executing finite element analysis using in-house codes and user-defined subroutines in commercial softwares.

– Exploring diverse engineering and biomedical applications for these soft materials.

Below is a gallery showcase of some projects on soft materials and smart devices with collaborators. Videos from collaborators are gratefully acknowledged.