Non-conventional Hybrid Elastomer Systems for Soft Body Machines
Soft materials, such as soft polymers, have been developed for various applications. Elastomers as highly compliant and stretchable polymers can provide unique functionalities for emerging applications such as soft machines. Soft machines, which are made of soft materials, can interact with human and nature in a compliant manner. Soft machines can smartly sense and actuate contacted surroundings by adapting to the geometry of them. To design such soft machines, soft materials should be employed and designed in their properties and processability.
Liquid inclusion is a promising approach to tune elastomer properties, such as mechanical, dielectric and thermal properties, which is not sufficiently investigated and developed as a composite. Liquids can intrinsically adapt to environmental geometry at contact and under dynamics, and they can be included inside elastomer medium as a main player, which can give tunability to the elastomeric materials. The tunability can be obtained from the combination of liquids and elastomers in a designed processing scheme. This approach can be further developed in order to be applied to many smart polymers including hydrogel, biomedical polymers, shape memory polymer or self-healing polymers.
The project initiates internationalization of higher education and research competence between Uppsala University with KAIST as the partner in South Korea. We share our established research expertise with each other to contribute higher education and research in both places. Academic exchanges between disciplines of mechanics and material engineering of two groups and between two departments with seminars contribute to graduate and postgraduate programs. The research collaboration benefits to scientific and technical developments by connecting theoretical and experimental approaches to understand and to develop liquid inclusion composites that provide compliance and various interesting properties for soft robotics, wearable systems and medical applications. We focus on study and design of mechanical, electromechanical and thermal characteristics of multifunctional composites and through this, we strengthen our academic capability and widen collaboration opportunities between Sweden and South Korea.
STINT (Stiftelsen för internationalisering av högre utbildning och forskning, The Swedish Foundation
Uppsala University and KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)
Prof. Klas Hjort