About this Research Topic
Soft materials, such as colloids, polymers, membranes and biological systems often exhibit a broad range of mechanical properties, which are governed by the interactions between their building blocks occurring over a wide range of length scales; spanning from the nano/microscale of the elementary constituents to the macroscopic scale of the bulk material. The ensemble of these multi-scale interactions results in complex behaviors of materials whose deformability and flexibility can be finely tuned to adapt to environments and to fulfil the requirements for a variety of applications in the fields of medicine, biotechnology, food science, detergency, and additive manufacturing.
A rational design of soft materials with desired mechanical properties requires a deep knowledge of their viscoelastic response at all length scales and the determination of a link across them. With this aim, several novel techniques have been recently proposed for the mechanical characterization of materials at nanoscale, together with significant advances in bulk rheology methods. However, an overview of the advantages and limitations of these techniques applied to a large variety of soft materials is still missing from literature. Thus the aim of this article collection is to provide a general framework of the materials’ responses, by merging the information gained from different approaches and techniques working at different length scales.
We welcome contributions in the form of Reviews and Original Research articles which report on advanced experimental and/or simulation techniques for the micro- and bulk mechanical characterization of soft materials, such as bulk hydrogels and organogels, dispersions of soft colloidal and nanoparticles (micro and nanogels, lipidic nanoparticles, grafted particles, etc.), biological systems (cells, tissues, biopolymers), and soft interfaces. We are particularly interested in contributions involving (but not limited to):
- AFM micromechanics
- Passive and active microrheology
- Recent advances in bulk and interfacial rheology
- Combined setups (Rheo-microscopy, Rheo-Scattering,...)
- Novel simulation techniques
Keywords: mechanics, rheology, soft matter, novel techniques, microscale characterization
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.