Mechanics of Smart and Tough Gels

A virtual IUTAM symposium | May 24-29, 2021

Polymer gels consist of cross-linked polymer chains and solvent molecules (e.g., water). The mechanical properties of polymer gels are similar to soft biological tissues such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, skin, and nerves. As a result, polymer gels have been widely used in biomedical applications.

More recently, polymer gels have also been exploited as a class of soft active materials with sensing and actuating properties in the development of soft machines and soft robotics. These applications have motivated development of tough gels as well as fundamental studies on the mechanics of polymer gels. An extremely active field of research has emerged lately that brings together researchers across multiple fields including polymer chemistry, soft matter physics, and solid mechanics.

Inspired by these recent developments, this symposium aims to stimulate and strengthen the cross-links and collaborations among active researchers from diverse backgrounds working on the experimental, theoretical and numerical aspects of smart and tough gels, with an emphasis on the mechanics as the unifying theme.