Making Smart Gels Smarter
Polymeric gels are increasingly ubiquitous and used in everything from contact lenses to oil-well seals. Smart gels that respond to stimuli such as changes in temperature, pH and ion concentration are being developed for applications as varied as drug delivery, biomedical sensing, tissue engineering and hydraulic fracturing. Despite their huge, sector-spanning potential, little is known about how these gels perform in complex, real-world settings outside of the lab. Shawn Chester, an expert in materials behavior, is providing engineers with the simulation tools to test smart gels in particular applications so they can be used with confidence and deliver on their highly anticipated promise.