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XX5.08 - Stimuli-Responsive Liquid Crystal Elastomers for Dynamic Mechanical Assist Devices and Tissue Scaffolds 
April 23, 2014   11:00am - 11:15am

Low-cost and scalable therapies are needed to treat heart failure, which affects around 5.7 million people in the US. Current therapies rely on ventricular assist devices which restrict patient mobility, but biocompatible stimuli-responsive biomaterials provide a potential alternative. Here, we report the development of liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) composite materials as electrically responsive materials for implantable mechanical assist devices. Conductive monodomain LCEs are produced using a two-step crosslinking method along with the addition of carbon black particles both before and after crosslinking, resulting in conductive LCEs (resistivity ~ 4 - 5 Ω m) with as little as 2 wt % carbon black nanoparticles. The resulting LCE exhibits rapid (~ 0.1 - 1 Hz) and reversible shape and topography changes in response to modest voltages (10 - 40 V). The response of the substrate can be controlled by variation of the pulse amplitude, duration, and frequency to achieve reversible strains from 1 - 20 % with a response time as fast as 0.5s. Electro-mechancial epxansion of conductive LCEs was completely reversible with no hysteresis, even after 12 hours of electrical stimulation. Electrospun LCE meshes provide porous, stimuli-responsive scaffolds. These materials potentially provide a straightforward and scalable route to stimuli-responsive biomaterials for mechanical assist devices, dynamic substrates, or tissue scaffolds.

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Keynote Address
Panel Discussion - Different Approaches to Commercializing Materials Research
Business Challenges to Starting a Materials-Based Company
Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience
Application of In-situ X-ray Absorption, Emission and Powder Diffraction Studies in Nanomaterials Research - From the Design of an In-situ Experiment to Data Analysis