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Creators/Authors contains: "Lin, Shaoting"

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  3. Skeletal muscles possess the combinational properties of high fatigue resistance (1,000 J/m 2 ), high strength (1 MPa), low Young’s modulus (100 kPa), and high water content (70 to 80 wt %), which have not been achieved in synthetic hydrogels. The muscle-like properties are highly desirable for hydrogels’ nascent applications in load-bearing artificial tissues and soft devices. Here, we propose a strategy of mechanical training to achieve the aligned nanofibrillar architectures of skeletal muscles in synthetic hydrogels, resulting in the combinational muscle-like properties. These properties are obtained through the training-induced alignment of nanofibrils, without additional chemical modifications or additives. In situ confocal microscopy of the hydrogels’ fracturing processes reveals that the fatigue resistance results from the crack pinning by the aligned nanofibrils, which require much higher energy to fracture than the corresponding amorphous polymer chains. This strategy is particularly applicable for 3D-printed microstructures of hydrogels, in which we can achieve isotropically fatigue-resistant, strong yet compliant properties. 
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  4. Structures of thin films bonded on substrates have been used in technologies as diverse as flexible electronics, soft robotics, bio-inspired adhesives, thermal-barrier coatings, medical bandages, wearable devices and living devices. The current paradigm for maintaining adhesion of films on substrates is to make the films thinner, and more compliant and adhesive, but these requirements can compromise the function or fabrication of film–substrate structures. For example, there are limits on how thin, compliant and adhesive epidermal electronic devices can be fabricated and still function reliably. Here we report a new paradigm that enhances adhesion of films on substrates via designing rational kirigami cuts in the films without changing the thickness, rigidity or adhesiveness of the films. We find that the effective enhancement of adhesion by kirigami is due to (i) the shear-lag effect of the film segments; (ii) partial debonding at the film segments’ edges; and (iii) compatibility of kirigami films with inhomogeneous deformation of substrates. While kirigami has been widely used to program thin sheets with desirable shapes and mechanical properties, fabricate electronics with enhanced stretchability and design the assembly of three-dimensional microstructures, this paper gives the first systematic study on kirigami enhancing film adhesion. We further demonstrate novel applications including a kirigami bandage, a kirigami heat pad and printed kirigami electronics. 
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  5. The emerging applications of hydrogels in devices and machines require hydrogels to maintain robustness under cyclic mechanical loads. Whereas hydrogels have been made tough to resist fracture under a single cycle of mechanical load, these toughened gels still suffer from fatigue fracture under multiple cycles of loads. The reported fatigue threshold for synthetic hydrogels is on the order of 1 to 100 J/m 2 . We propose that designing anti-fatigue-fracture hydrogels requires making the fatigue crack encounter and fracture objects with energies per unit area much higher than that for fracturing a single layer of polymer chains. We demonstrate that the controlled introduction of crystallinity in hydrogels can substantially enhance their anti-fatigue-fracture properties. The fatigue threshold of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with a crystallinity of 18.9 weight % in the swollen state can exceed 1000 J/m 2 . 
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  6. Abstract

    3D printing has been intensively explored to fabricate customized structures of responsive materials including hydrogels, liquid‐crystal elastomers, shape‐memory polymers, and aqueous droplets. Herein, a new method and material system capable of 3D‐printing hydrogel inks with programed bacterial cells as responsive components into large‐scale (3 cm), high‐resolution (30 μm) living materials, where the cells can communicate and process signals in a programmable manner, are reported. The design of 3D‐printed living materials is guided by quantitative models that account for the responses of programed cells in printed microstructures of hydrogels. Novel living devices are further demonstrated, enabled by 3D printing of programed cells, including logic gates, spatiotemporally responsive patterning, and wearable devices.

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