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PRISM/PCCM SEMINAR SERIES Fall 2021: Lihua Jin, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Title: Soft materials for soft machines

Soft machines are transforming the fields of robotics and biomedical devices in that they are capable of sustaining large deformation and interacting safely with fragile objects and human beings. The recent advance of additive manufacturing allows fabrication of soft materials into complex structures. Designing and fabricating soft structures with programmable actuation and desired functionalities are the major efforts in the field. In this seminar, I will first talk about our recent progress in controlling spatiotemporal reconfiguration of stimuli-responsive soft materials (SSMs), which are important building blocks of soft machines. SSMs can change their shapes or volumes in response to external stimuli, such as light, heat and electric fields, through non-equilibrium kinetic processes. Using liquid crystal elastomers, hydrogels, and shape memory polymers as model SSMs, I will demonstrate how to predict their spatiotemporal responses by developing non-equilibrium field theories, and program their spatiotemporal reconfiguration by patterning the materials using advanced manufacturing tools. Further utilizing the interplay between SSMs and external stimuli, and coupling of their kinetics and inertia allows us to achieve autonomous oscillation and self-sustainable actuation of SSMs. Tuning the properties of SSMs through sophisticated chemical synthesis is often challenging. To overcome this limitation, I will demonstrate how we are able to vary the responses of soft materials by designing and fabricating them into mechanical metamaterials, which are materials with microarchitectures. Our efforts in designing shape-transforming metamaterials and energy-absorbing metamaterials will be discussed.

Sep 8, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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