Title : Electroactive polymers as artificial muscle materials: new opportunities for biomaterials and tissue engineering
Electroactive polymers (EAPs) consist of synthetic materials capable of changing dimensions and/or shape in response to an electrical stimulus. They show useful actuation properties, such as sizable active strains and/or stresses, large compliance, low density, low power consumption and ease of processing. In this talk, EAPs will be introduced as a promising technology in order to provide biomaterials and tissue engineering scaffolds with intrinsic actuation capabilities. Ongoing research in our group will be described, showing soft and electromechanically activated bioreactors with inherent cell stretching functions. They are investigated to deliver controllable mechanical stimuli to cell cultures, in order to regulate their developmental processes. The greatest promise of the considered technology relies on its high versatility, compact size, low weight and scalability, as well as low cost.