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Soft network composite materials with deterministic and bio-inspired designs.

  • Author(s): Jang, Kyung-In
  • Chung, Ha Uk
  • Xu, Sheng
  • Lee, Chi Hwan
  • Luan, Haiwen
  • Jeong, Jaewoong
  • Cheng, Huanyu
  • Kim, Gwang-Tae
  • Han, Sang Youn
  • Lee, Jung Woo
  • Kim, Jeonghyun
  • Cho, Moongee
  • Miao, Fuxing
  • Yang, Yiyuan
  • Jung, Han Na
  • Flavin, Matthew
  • Liu, Howard
  • Kong, Gil Woo
  • Yu, Ki Jun
  • Rhee, Sang Il
  • Chung, Jeahoon
  • Kim, Byunggik
  • Kwak, Jean Won
  • Yun, Myoung Hee
  • Kim, Jin Young
  • Song, Young Min
  • Paik, Ungyu
  • Zhang, Yihui
  • Huang, Yonggang
  • Rogers, John A
  • et al.
Abstract

Hard and soft structural composites found in biology provide inspiration for the design of advanced synthetic materials. Many examples of bio-inspired hard materials can be found in the literature; far less attention has been devoted to soft systems. Here we introduce deterministic routes to low-modulus thin film materials with stress/strain responses that can be tailored precisely to match the non-linear properties of biological tissues, with application opportunities that range from soft biomedical devices to constructs for tissue engineering. The approach combines a low-modulus matrix with an open, stretchable network as a structural reinforcement that can yield classes of composites with a wide range of desired mechanical responses, including anisotropic, spatially heterogeneous, hierarchical and self-similar designs. Demonstrative application examples in thin, skin-mounted electrophysiological sensors with mechanics precisely matched to the human epidermis and in soft, hydrogel-based vehicles for triggered drug release suggest their broad potential uses in biomedical devices.

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