MASS TRANSPORT and structure in soft biomaterials and the understanding of the intrinsic coupling between them is a challenging research area. The complexity of soft biomaterials makes research in this area a very demanding task with experimental as well as theoretical approaches highly integrated. The goal of the research program is set high: we aim to achieve predictability with respect to designing materials with specific mass transport profiles. To achieve this our four research modules (see picture above) interact in a unique way.
SOFT STRUCTURES or SOFT BIOMATERIALS?
Normally the word biomaterial refers to e.g. dental implants made from metal. The term soft biomaterials instead refers to biological materials and often so with the connection to sustainability and/or renewability. These are exclusively of organic origin, e.g. from plant polysaccharides. Many polysaccharides are known to self-aggregate to form a material where the microstructure depends on type of polysaccharide and external conditions etc. Since there are almost infinitely many different polysaccharides the phase behavior of these materials is enorously rich, meaning that the number of different structures that they form is very large. One common aspect of these structures is the fact that they are formed due to weak, or soft, forces acting between the polymers during self-aggregating. This makes the structure heterogeneous. Compare for instance these materials with a metal where the structure is very homogeneous due to strong forces between atoms, i.e. atoms sit in well-defined positions.
Last modified: August 24, 2012