Mechanical and Civil Engineering Seminar
Soft materials: from fundamental mechanics to applications
Abstract: In recent years, soft materials have been extensively explored in a myriad of engineering applications such as wearable devices and soft robotics. In the talk, I will present our recent studies of several different soft materials, including electroactive elastomers and gels, liquid crystal elastomers, ionic hydrogels and vitrimers. For each material, I will discuss their potential applications, followed by fundamental mechanics problems associated with the applications. Prototype demonstrations in the presentation include electroactive soft lens, smart window, ionic logic gate and artificial muscle for soft robotics. The associated mechanics problems are electromechanical instabilities in dielectric elastomers, fracture and fatigue of liquid crystal elastomers and non-steady crack growth in vitrimers.
Bio: Shengqiang Cai is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering program at University of California, San Diego. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 2011. After graduating from Harvard, he spent one year as postdoc at MIT. His research is mainly focused on mechanics of materials, especially soft materials and active materials. Shengqiang Cai has received NSF career award in 2016 and Journal of Applied Mechanics Award in 2020.