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Fracture and Damage of Soft Materials

Nikolaos Bouklas, Cornell University

Franck Vernerey, University of Colorado Boulder

Oscar Lopez-Pamies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Focusing on theoretical and computational developments, this mini-symposium aims to bring together researchers and enable discussions regarding the complex processes that govern the failure of synthetic and biological soft materials. Indeed, the load bearing function of these materials ranging from cartilage, tendon and the meniscus, to polymers and gels used for stretchable electronics, soft robotics and tissue scaffolds, is usually governed by complex processes underlying their damage and fracture. These processes can span several length scales and can be exceedingly intricate, especially as composite architectures are studied. Additionally, several mechanisms can contribute to the time- and rate-dependent damage and fracture of these materials, from viscoelasticity, to poroelasticity and the existence of chemical reactions and phase transitions. Understanding these processes is fundamental, towards designing soft materials with tailored responses, tissue engineering scaffolds as well as designing exercise-based treatments and injury-protective equipment. Advances in experimental techniques have propelled our understanding in the field, but there is a multitude of unanswered questions as we move from macroscopic to microscopic phenomena. Computational techniques and theoretical developments aiming at aspects connected to damage and fracture of soft materials, from the structural level to the micro-mechanical level are of particular interest to this mini-symposium.

Topics include but are not limited to:

· Damage and fracture mechanics of elastomers, hydrogels and soft composites

· Damage and fracture of biological soft materials

· Modeling the transition from damage to strain localization and fracture.

· Multiscale modeling (from discrete to continuum approaches) of damage and fracture in soft materials

· Multiphysical processes with implication to damage and fracture in soft materials

· Novel computational techniques for damage and fracture of soft materials