Module 1: Mechanically responsive materials

F/D

Nature uses a plethora of processes that translate mechanical action into chemical reactions and vice versa to enable a diverse range of vital functions. The idea to mimic this general approach and employ mechanochemical transduction schemes to create functional synthetic polymers has recently gained significant traction, but examples of mechanochemically induced property changes in artificial materials are still rare, especially in the solid state. Inspired by the general principles found in Nature, this module aims to develop design principles for new materials that translate mechanical stress into pre-defined molecular events and functions, as well as materials in which mechanical responses can be triggered chemically. This knowledge will be used to design novel materials with useful stimuli-responsive functionalities.

Research projects

  • Functional polymers through mechanochemistry.
  • Probing force response of single macromolecules with atomic force microscopy.
  • Self-assembled biomimetic nanostructures based on stimuli-responsive block copolymers.
  • Polymers with molecular auxetic behavior.
  • Mechanically tunable materials through stimuli-responsive capsules.

Goals

  • Synthesis of supramolecular polymers, mechanophores, and nanorattles and investigation of the structure-property relationships of these materials.
  • Establishment of the necessary experimental protocols for single-molecule force spectroscopy.
  • Synthesis of mechano-responsive block copolymers and their self-assembly into responsivecapsules.
  • Synthesis of polymer structures that re-orient upon application of force.
  • Fabrication of functional microcapsules capable to release chemicals under external stresses.

Project leaders:

Functional polymers through mechanochemistry

Probing force response of single macromolecules with atomic force microscopy

Self-assembled biomimetic nanostructures based on stimuli-responsive block copolymers

Polymers with molecular auxetic behavior

Mechanically tunable materials through stimuli-responsive capsules

The National Centers of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation
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