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Symposium Sessions


  • General Interest (GI)
  • Broader Impact (BI)
  • Electronics and Optics (EL)
  • Energy (EN)
  • Flexible, Wearable Electronics, Textiles and Sensors (FL)
  • Materials Theory, Characterization and Data Science (MT)
  • Nanomaterials and Quantum Materials (NM)
  • Soft Materials and Biomaterials (SM)
  • Structural and Functional Materials (SF)

Please note: On demand presentations do not have times assigned. Presentations with times assigned are Live presentations.

Symposium F.SM02—Hydrogel Technology for Humans and Machines

Current processing of engineering materials relies on calving, molding, extruding, rolling, packing, and weaving of solid materials. However, Mother Nature’s toolbox for creating things is far beyond just solids. Clearly both solid and liquid play indispensable roles in living systems and the magical combination of the two by Mother Nature produces a wide spectrum of exquisite properties. For example, articular cartilage, a natural hydrogel that contains 70% water, can maintain impressively high fracture toughness under millions of cycles of loads. Skeletal muscles can achieve high actuation stress, strain and energy efficiency, yet operating over years. Mussel secrets soft glues to form extremely robust adhesions to rocks and metals in flowing water with high salinity. The underlying principles and tactics totally elude current synthetic technologies.

This symposium will cover the complete range of 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? How to fabricate soft materials that possess properties and functions as living organisms? Can we integrate soft living and engineered machines to create new forms of machines or life? This symposium focuses on, from computational modeling to experimental tests, intelligent design, manufacture, and molecular understanding of smart and functional hydrogel-based soft/living materials. The symposium will cover a variety of interdisciplinary topics related to smart hydrogel materials, data science, lab on chips computational modeling, which promote the molecular-level understanding and practical development of the next-generation smart, living hydrogels from fundamentals toward applications at different lengthscales and timescales.

Topics will include:

  • Smart hydrogels and soft living materials
  • Actuation mechanisms of hydrogels
  • Hydrogels for intelligent machines and devices;Autonomous hydrogels for soft robotics
  • Mechanics and physics of hydrogels; Toughening of hydrogels; Soft and wet adhesion
  • Interfacial and bulk properties of living hydrogels
  • Data integration and mining for hydrogel design
  • 3D/4D printing and additive manufacturing of hydrogels
  • Electrically conducting hydrogels and device components
  • Self-healing and shape memory hydrogels
  • Bioactive Hydrogels for sensing, drug delivery, tissue regeneration, and bionics
  • Liquid-inclusion; Soft colloid
  • Soft metamaterials

Invited Speakers:

  • Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University, USA)
  • Al Crosby (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)
  • Cecile Dreiss (King's College London, United Kingdom)
  • Andres Garcia (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
  • Zhen Gu (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)
  • Christoph Keplinger (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Michael Lang (Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Germany)
  • Bruce Lee (Michigan Technological University, USA)
  • Wenguang Liu (Tianjing University, China)
  • Rong Long (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  • Alba Marcellan (École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles, France)
  • Michael Mayer (University of Michigan, USA)
  • Phillip B. Messersmith (University of California, Berkeley, USA)
  • Samir Mitragotri (Harvard University, USA)
  • Marc in het Panhuis (University of Wollongong, Australia)
  • Sergei Sheiko (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, USA)
  • Zhigang Suo (Harvard University, USA)
  • Mark W. Tibbitt (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
  • Dimitris Vlassopoulos (FORTH Crete, Greece)
  • Y. Shrike Zhang (Harvard Medical School, USA)

Symposium Organizers

Jie Zheng
The University of Akron
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Xuanhe Zhao
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering
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Costantino Creton
Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles

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