Smart magnetic soft materials to develop artificial muscles and therapeutic robots

Developing a new technology of synthetic muscles and smooth nanorobots for drug delivery are some

Developing a new technology of synthetic muscles and smooth nanorobots for drug delivery are some of the lengthy-expression ambitions of 4D-BIOMAP, an ERC analysis task getting undertaken by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M).

This task develops cross-slicing bio-magneto-mechanical methodologies to encourage and handle biological processes this sort of as cell migration and proliferation, the organism’s electrophysiological reaction, and the origin and improvement of smooth tissue pathologies.

Conversation forces involving magnetic particles translate into macroscopic transformations of the intelligent polymers. Image credit history: 4D-BIOMAP.

“The overarching concept of this analysis task is to affect distinct biological processes at the cellular level (i.e., wound healing, mind synapses or anxious process responses) by creating timely engineering applications”, explains 4D-BIOMAP’s guide researcher, Daniel García González from the UC3M’s Department of Continuum Mechanics and Structural Investigation.

The so-called magneto-active polymers are revolutionising the fields of good mechanics and materials science. These composites consist of a polymeric matrix (i.e., an elastomer) that contains magnetic particles (i.e., iron) that respond mechanically by changing their condition and quantity.

“The concept is that the software of an exterior magnetic subject sales opportunities to inner forces in the substance. These forces consequence in alterations of its mechanical attributes, this sort of as stiffness or even condition and quantity adjustments which may perhaps interact with the cellular systems”, explains Daniel García González.

The researcher just lately released a scientific short article in Composites Component B: Engineering about this topic with his colleagues from the UC3M’s Department of Structural Investigation and the Department of Bioengineering and Aerospace Engineering. In this cross-slicing collaboration, enthusiastic on unique experiments, they propose a product that presents theoretical steering to layout magneto-active structural devices that could be utilized in epithelial wound healing stimulation.

The magneto-mechanical reaction is decided by the substance attributes of the polymeric matrix and magnetic particles. If these processes are controlled, other engineering apps could be made, this sort of as smooth robots that can interact with the overall body or a new technology of synthetic muscles, notes the researcher, who explains the probable of this know-how with a comparison: “Let’s visualize a person who is on the beach front and wants to move ahead speedily. On the other hand, the sand (the mechanical setting) will make it a minimal extra tough for them to move ahead than if they were being stood on tarmac or an athletic track. Equally, in our circumstance, if a cell is on a substrate that is way too smooth, it will make it extra tough to move. So, if we are in a position to change these substrates in its place and make this athletic track for cells, we will make all of these processes establish extra successfully.”

Resource: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid