Soft Active Materials Laboratory

Design soft materials with unprecedented properties

PI: Prof. Xuanhe Zhao

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Recent News

 

Design across molecular-,

 

nano-,

 

micro-,

 

milli-,

 

and macro-scales.

       
 

     
       
       
(click images for example papers)

 

 

Welcome to the Soft Active Materials Laboratory at Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT. Our long-term research mission is to understand the fundamental mechanics and physics of materials and phenomena emerging on the interface between engineering and biological systems and to design new materials and structures capable of extraordinary applications in diverse technologies. Our current research goal is to understand and design soft materials with unprecedented properties such as extremely tough and strong, ultrasensitive to stimuli, mutable and programmable, biocompatible and bioabsorbable; and to explore their extraordinary functions in technologies such as wearable and biointegrated electronics, drug delivery and tissue engineering, antifouling, energy harvesting and storage, soft robotics and machines, water treatment. In order to achieve this goal, we are advancing fundamental knowledge on interfaces between solid mechanics, soft materials, and bioinspired and genetic design. Our current research projects are centered on three themes:

  • Soft Materials (e.g., polymers and gels & nonlinear mechanics)

  • Active Materials (e.g., chemo-electro-magneto-active polymers & chemo-electro-magneto-mechanics)

  • Soft Surfaces and Interfaces (e.g., Functional surface patterning & Thin film mechanics and adhesion)

 

 

Recent Research Highlights (more)

 

 

 

 

Soft Materias: Tough, adhesive and smart water (hydrogels)

(paper 76, 79, 57, 42, 70, 36)

 

Soft Surfaces and Interfaces: Crumpling and unfolding of large-area 2D materials and nano-sheets

(paper 46, 66, 56, 54, 67)

 

Active Materials: Electro-chemo-mechanically active materials

(paper 34, 68, 71, 40)

 

Manufacturing and Devices: 3D printing of soft materials and soft devices

(paper 74, 79)

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Media Reports (more)

 

 

 

 

Recent Papers (Full Paper List )

 

 

Click title bar to sort papers by field.  Click paper title for PDF file.

ID

 

Title

 

Journal

 

Year

 

Theme

85.  

Skin-Inspired Hydrogel-Elastomer Hybrids

 

Nature Communications

 

2016

 

Soft materials

81.  

Mechanochemically Responsive Viscoelastic Elastomers

 

Journal of Applied Mechanics

 

2016

 

Soft materials;

Active materials

76.  

Tough Bonding of Hydrogels to Diverse Nonporous Surfaces

  Nature Materials  

2016

 

Soft surfaces;

Soft materials

79.  

Stretchable Hydrogel Electronics and Devices, Video

  Advanced Materials  

2015

 

Soft materials

80.

 

Beyond Wrinkle: Multimodal Surface Instabilities for Multifunctional Patterning

  MRS Bulletin  

2016

 

Soft surfaces

 

59.  

Matrix Elasticity Controls Bone Formation by Transplanted Stem Cells

  Nature Materials  

2015

 

 

Soft materials

 

70.  

Predicting Fracture Energies and Crack-Tip Fields of Soft Tough Materials, Video

  Extreme Mechanics Letters  

2015

 

Soft materials

 

71.  

Mechanics of Mechanochemically Responsive Elastomers

  Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids

 

2015

 

Active materials;

Soft surfaces

74.  

3D Printing of Highly Stretchable and Tough Hydrogels into Complex, Cellularized Structures

  Advanced Materials  

2015

 

Soft materials

73.

 

Bio-inspired Reversibly-Crosslinked Hydrogels Comprising Polypeptide Micelles Exhibit Enhanced Mechanical Properties

  Advanced Functional Materials  

2015

 

Soft materials

 

66.  

A Three-Dimensional Phase Diagram of Growth-Induced Surface Instabilities

  Scientific Reports

 

2015

 

Soft surfaces

47.

 

Ultrasound-triggered disruption and self-healing of reversibly-crosslinked hydrogels for drug delivery and enhanced chemotherapy

  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  

2014

 

Active materials

 

 

69.  

Designing Extremely Resilient and Tough Hydrogels via Delayed Dissipation

  Extreme Mechanics Letters  

2014

 

Soft materials

68. 

 

Cephalopod-inspired Design of Electro-mechano-chemically Responsive Elastomers for On-demand Fluorescent Patterning, Video, Nature News, MIT News,

  Nature Communications  

2014

 

Soft surfaces; Active materials

67.   

Stretchable and High-Performance Supercapacitors with Crumpled Graphene Paper

  Scientific Reports

 

2014

 

Soft surfaces

65.  

Design of Stiff, Tough and Stretchy Hydrogel Composites via Nanoscale Hybrid Crosslinking and Macroscale Fiber Reinforcement, Video 1

 

Soft Matter

 

2014

 

Soft materials

63.   

Increasing the maximum achievable strain of a covalent polymer gel through the addition of mechanically invisible cross-links

 

Advanced Materials

 

2014

 

Soft materials

 

62. 

 

Harnessing Large Deformation and Instabilities of Soft Dielectrics: Theory, Experiment and Application (Review)

 

Applied Physics Review

 

2014

 

Active materials;

Soft surfaces

61. 

 

Soft Robotic Concepts in Catheter Design: an On-demand Fouling-release Urinary Catheter

 

Advanced Healthcare Materials

 

2014

 

Soft surfaces

 

57.

 

Multi-scale Multi-mechanism Design of Tough Hydrogels: Building Dissipation into Stretchy Networks (Review)

 

Soft Matter

 

2014

 

Soft materials

56.

 

Harnessing Localized Ridges for High-Aspect-Ratio Hierarchical Patterns with Dynamic Tunability and Multifunctionality, Video 1

 

Advanced Materials

 

2014

 

Soft surfaces

 

55.

 

Creasing-Wrinkling Transition in Elastomer Films under Electric Fields, Video 1

 

Physical Review E

 

2013

 

Active materials;

Soft surfaces

54.

 

Phase Diagrams of Instabilities in Compressed Film-Substrate Systems

 

Journal of Applied Mechanics

 

2014

 

Soft surfaces

 

50.

 

Composite three-dimensional woven scaffolds with interpenetrating network hydrogels to create functional synthetic articular cartilage

 

Advanced Functional Materials

 

2013

 

Soft materials

 

49.

 

Reversible Sliding in Networks of Nanowires

 

Nanoletters

 

2013

 

Other

46.

 

Multifunctionality and Control of the Crumpling and Unfolding of Large-Area Graphene

 

Nature Materials

 

2013

 

Soft surfaces;

Active materials

45.

 

Bioinspired Surfaces with Dynamic Topography for Active Control of Biofouling

 

Advanced Materials

 

2013

 

Soft surfaces;

Active materials

 

42.

 

Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels, Video 1,  Video 2,  Video 3

 

Nature

 

2012

 

Soft materials

  

41.

 

Dynamic Electrostatic Lithography: Multiscale On-demand Patterning on Large-Area Curved Surfaces

 

Advanced Materials

 

2012

 

Soft surfaces;

Active materials

40.

 

Bursting Drops in Solid Dielectrics Caused by High Voltages, Video 1, Video 2, Video 3

 

Nature Communications

 

2012

 

Active materials

39.

 

Localized Ridge Wrinkling of Stiff Films on Compliant Substrates

 

Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids

 

2012

 

Soft surfaces

36.

 

A Theory for Large Deformation and Damage of Interpenetrating Polymer Networks

 

Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids

 

2012

 

Soft materials

 

34.

 

Creasing to Cratering instability in polymers under ultrahigh electric fields

 

Physical Review Letters

 

2011

 

Active materials;

Soft surfaces 

29.

 

Active Scaffolds for On-demand Drug and Cell Delivery, Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4

 

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

 

2011

 

Active materials;

Soft materials

28.

 

Theory of dielectric elastomers capable of giant deformation of actuation

 

Physical Review Letters

 

2010

 

Active materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

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