Applications are becoming ever more technologically 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. Popular example include self-healing materials (SHM) that are able to repair damage and recover functional properties and transducer materials for (soft) robotic actuation. The proposed research aims at combining multiple stimuli-response chemistries, in view of combining (1) good self-healing capabilities and (2) reversible processing and manufacturing, with (3) excellent structural stability and (4) precise control over local stiffness
gradients and responsive properties in complex geometrical structures.
Detailed experimental investigations of the (a) reaction kinetics and related (b) structure-property development will result in new fundamental insights and models that can be used to (c) simulate the multi-stimuli-responsive behaviour of (d) carefully designed multi- dynamic polymer network structures. These fundamental results will be valorised for (i) the additive manufacturing of soft robotic actuators with optimized self-healing properties and structural stability, (ii) the preparation of 3D structures with spatially-controlled stiffness gradients and (iii) the exploration of metamaterials.