Applications are becoming ever more technologically and scientifically challenging, design criteria for structures ever more complex and the material requirements ever more demanding. In light of these scientific challenges, smart materials are being developed. Stimuli-responsive materials are such smart materials, which exhibit adaptability in respons of environmental stimuli. A popular example are self-healing materials (SHM) that are able to repair damage and recover functional properties. Recent developments have shown the use of SHM in (soft) robotic actuators, extending the service lifetime of these applications. The proposed research aims at extending these self- healing capabilities to sensors and wearable soft devices. In addition, the possible use of
electrically conductive nanocomposites for damage sensing will be investigated to realize more autonomous healing of damage in soft robotic systems.
Detailed experimental investigations of the effects of the nanofillers on the funtional properties and the effect of the processing conditions will result in new fundamental insights for the structure-processing-property relationships of conductive stimuli-responsive polymers, which in turn will allow the design of such materials for a broad range of applications and will generate a thorough understanding for the optimization of developed materials and applications.