Functional soft materials

Soft materials can often respond to external stimuli, such as temperature, light, or electrical field. Some soft materials are capable of self-healing after fracture. These unique properties of soft materials can be harnessed in applications, such as artificial muscles, drug delivery and energy harvesting. Our group develops functional soft materials, investigates their constitutive behavior, and demonstrates their applications.

Deformation, instability, and fracture of soft materials

Soft materials are capable of nonlinear and large deformation, with highly nonlinear stress-strain behavior. As a result, a rich library of mechanical instabilities can occur in soft materials. Our group studies the nonlinear mechanics of soft materials, and in particular different modes of instabilities, including creasing, wrinkling, period doubling, and ridging. On the other hand, soft materials have unusual fracture behavior. Our group also strives to advance the understanding of fracture in soft materials.

Soft robotics and stretchable electronics

Soft robots, compared to their hard counterparts, show advantages in interacting with human beings and handling fragile objects. Stretchable electronic devices are essential for the sensing and actuation of soft robots, and transform the interaction between human beings and machines. Our group designs soft robots and stretchable electronic devices through computation and experiment.