Zienkiewicz Institute for AI, Data and Modelling
In recent years, the research in the arena of artificial muscles and soft robotics gain tremendous momentum across all major disciplines of science ranging from material sciences to computational engineering. Traditional robots are made of rigid metallic materials. Hence such robotic interfaces do not actually mimic the human body. Therefore, over the years, scientists have been pursuing to find suitable materials and actuation mechanisms that will be very compliant to the human body. Polymeric materials are soft, highly stretchable, biocompatible, biodegradable, cost effective and easy to fabricate. Thanks to such attributes of soft materials, recently, the so-called Electro-active polymers (EAPs), Magneto-active polymers (MAPs), and Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) have been gaining popularity within the smart materials community. The core mechanism of EAPs/MAPs/SMPs is an electro-mechanical/magneto-mechanical/thermo-mechanical coupling behaviour
where an electric/magnetic/heat energy converts into a mechanical energy thanks to stimulation by an electric/magnetic/thermal field. In contrast to traditional piezoelectric materials of small strain actuation mechanisms, the excitation on EAPs/MAPs/SMPs by an external field results in a large deformation. It also results in a change in their material behaviour, e.g. the polarization response. In this talk, after a brief overview on the state-of-the-art of soft robotics, thorough and detailed experimental characterisations of a classical polymer will be presented. All data produced from thermo-electro-mechanically coupled tests show that the electric and temperature loadings have profound effects in the time-dependent behaviour of polymer. The data set from various tests can be used for the identification of thermo-electro-viscoelastic parameters for a suitable computational model that can capture thermo-electro-mechanically coupled behaviours of polymers. Finally,
a series of computationally-designed soft actuators will be presented that demonstrate the versatility of numerical modelling in the case of soft electro-active polymers.
Dr Mokarram Hossain is an AssociateProfessor at the Zienkiewicz Institute (ZI) for AI, Data and Modelling in Swansea University. The ZI is considered as the World-leading Centre of Excellence in computational modelling for the last five decades. After completing his Bachelor in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dr Hossain obtained Masters in Computational Engineering (2005) from Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany. He obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering (2010) from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany under the supervision of Prof Paul Steinmann. He moved to the UK, at first in Northumbria University as a Lecturer in 2015, then to Swansea University as a Senior Lecturer in 2017.
Dr Hossain’s research interests lie in the wide and interdisciplinary areas of soft polymeric and active multifunctional materials ranging from material synthesis, experimental study to computational modelling. He has been active in the areas of biological tissue modelling and polymeric material characterisations under thermo-electro-magneto-mechanical loads. He has numerous fundamental and cutting-edge contributions in the areas of polymer curing modelling, electro-active, magneto-active polymers, hydrogel experiments and modelling. He has obtained several research grants including from UK Research Council (EPSRC), Royal Society and industries for energy harvesting, soft material characterisations using electro-active/magneto-active polymers. Dr Hossain obtained the best Postdoc Paper Prize from the UK Association for Computational Mechanics (UKACM). He was a Mercator Fellow from German Science Foundation (DFG) and ASEM-DUO Fellow from South Korea. Dr Hossain published more than 90 peer reviewed journal papers in many leading journals across disciplines of materials, mechanics and computations including JMPS, CMAME, NPJ Nature Computational Materials, Applied Materials Today, Renewable Energy Reviews, He is the Managing Guest Editor of a Special Issue in European Journal of Mechanics-A/Solids.