2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

Symposium SB09-Hydrogel Technologies for Humans and Machines

Living materials are extremely complex. For example, articular cartilage, a natural hydrogel that contains 70% water, can maintain impressively high fracture toughness under millions of load cycles. Skeletal muscles can achieve high actuation stress, strain, and energy efficiency, while operating over decades. Mussel secretes soft glues to form robust adhesion to rocks and metals in flowing water with high salinity. Learning from the complexity of nature invariably leads to the design of composite structures, including those that rely on not only solid but also viscoelastic or liquid components. An emerging strategy is to employ synthetic hydrogels and elastomers as component building blocks to develop next-generation materials that can exist at the interface between humans and machines.

Hybrid soft materials based on hydrogel technologies open new avenues for novel dynamic adaptive mechanisms and new multifunctional materials. The liquid component provides a medium to host chemical reactions, which allows for the incorporation of different intelligently designed elements. Their hybrid nature offers tremendous combinatorial potential for mixing and matching a broad range of inputs and outputs. Newly emerging manufacturing techniques also bring new space for design. The understanding of how to integrate these recent advances in material properties and function (e.g. toughness, self-healing, multi-functional hydrogels) with manufacturing (3D/4D printing) for the purpose of building smart materials and intelligent machines is incomplete.

This symposium has immense scope, ranging from fundamental mechanics, physics, and materials science research to applications. The following scientific questions will be discussed: What are nature’s strategies in designing various soft living materials and intelligent machines? What fabrication methods enable soft materials that possess properties and functions like living organisms? Is it possible to integrate both soft living and engineered machines to create new forms of machines or life? The symposium will cover a variety of interdisciplinary topics related to smart hydrogel materials, data science, lab-on-a-chip, and computational modeling, which will promote the molecular-level understanding and practical development of next-generation smart, living hydrogels from fundamentals toward applications at different length scales and timescales.

Topics will include:

  • Hydrogels for soft robotics and the actuation mechanisms of hydrogels
  • Mechanics and physics of hydrogels and soft colloids
  • Interfacial and bulk properties of living hydrogels and underwater adhesion
  • Data integration and mining for hydrogel design
  • 3D/4D printing and additive manufacturing of hydrogels
  • Toughening of hydrogels and self-healing of hydrogels
  • Hydrogels for soft robot, sensing, drug delivery, tissue regeneration, and bionics

Invited Speakers (tentative):

  • Markus J. Buehler (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Alfred Crosby (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)
  • Cole DeForest (University of Washington, USA)
  • Adam Feinberg (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
  • Andrés García (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Jianping Gong (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  • Ryan Hayward (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Ximin He (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
  • Jeremiah Johnson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Akira Kakugo (Hokkaido University, Japan)
  • Robert Katzschmann (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
  • Younsoo Kim (Pohang University of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea)
  • Krzysztof Matyjaszewski (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
  • Michael Mayer (Université de Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • Jordan Miller (Rice University, USA)
  • Sebastien Seiffert (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany)
  • Zhigang Suo (Harvard University, USA)
  • Riku Takahashi (NTT Basic Research Laboratories, Japan)
  • Andreas Walther (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität MainzMainz, Germany)
  • Benjamin Wiley (Duke University, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Yuhang Hu
Georgia Institute of Technology
The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Daniel King
Hokkaido University
Faculty of Advanced Life Science

Mark Tibbitt
ETH Zürich

Xuanhe Zhao
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Publishing Alliance

MRS publishes with Springer Nature

Symposium Support