mechanics of active gels

The research on mechanics of active gels has been carried on under the support of the research project Microencapsulation based on intelligent actively-remodeling bio polymer gels for controlled drug release (PAMM) funded by MAECI through the  IX Call for Proposal on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Scientific Track 2020) within the agreement  between Italty and Israel. It's a joint project with the Department of structural and geotechnical engineering @ Sapienza Università di Roma and the Department of chemical engineering@ Ben Gurion University at Negev (PI: Paola Nardinocchi and Anne Bernheim). Within the Eleventh Call for Proposals on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Scientific Track 2022) the project Active biopolymer gels for soft robotics design (Bio-SoRo) presented jointly with the Israelian partner Anne Bernheim (Ben Gurion University at the Negev) has been funded for the 2022-2024 period.

The key idea: three characteristic states of an active gel are identified. (a) the dry-reference meshwork (red) with crosslinks (blue dots) (panel a); (b)  the contracted reference meshwork, whereas  mean free-length of the mesh is reduced, crosslink density is changed and the polymer chains are considered unstretched; (c)  the  swollen meshwork, where  liquid molecules (light blue dots) swell the contracted reference meshwork.