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Soft Matter

Himadri S Samanta, Pavel I Zhuravlev, Michael Hinczewski, Naoto Hori, Shaon Chakrabarti, D Thirumalai
Folded states of single domain globular proteins are compact with high packing density. The radius of gyration, Rg, of both the folded and unfolded states increase as N(ν) where N is the number of amino acids in the protein. The values of the Flory exponent ν are, respectively, ≈⅓ and ≈0.6 in the folded and unfolded states, coinciding with those for homopolymers. However, the extent of compaction of the unfolded state of a protein under low denaturant concentration (collapsibility), conditions favoring the formation of the folded state, is unknown...
April 27, 2017: Soft Matter
M Selmi, J-C Loudet, P V Dolganov, T Othman, P Cluzeau
We report an experimental investigation of the structure of periodic patterns observed in the meniscus of free-standing smectic films. Combination of polarizing optical microscopy and phase shifting interferometry enabled us to obtain new information on the structure of the meniscus, and in particular, on the topography of the smectic-air interface. We investigate the profile of the undulations in the striped structure in the thin part of the meniscus, change of the stripe period with the meniscus thickness and subsequent transition into a two-dimensional structure...
April 27, 2017: Soft Matter
Zhen Wang, Jianzhu Ju, Lingpu Meng, Nan Tian, Jiarui Chang, Haoran Yang, Youxin Ji, Fengmei Su, Liangbin Li
Structural and morphological transitions of flow-induced crystallization (FIC) in poly(1-butene) (PB-1) melt have been studied by combining extensional rheology and in situ synchrotron radiation ultrafast wide- and small-angle X-ray scattering (WAXD/SAXS) measurements. Unexpectedly, metastable Form III is crystallized directly from the PB-1 melt by high-speed extension, which has a short lifetime of several tens of milliseconds and manifests the thermodynamic and kinetic competition among Form III, Form II and melt under flow...
April 27, 2017: Soft Matter
S Rajkhowa, S Mahiuddin, J Dey, S Kumar, V K Aswal, R Biswas, J Kohlbrecher, K Ismail
The influence of mixing protocol, composition, temperature, ageing and added alcohols on the characteristics of the microstructures of sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) + cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) mixtures has been investigated in this paper. In this catanionic mixture (1 weight% total surfactant content) temperature induced microstructural transition occurs, which is (i) a micelle-to-vesicle transition (MVT) if αSDS (mole fraction of SDS) = 0.7, 0.8 or 0.9 and (ii) a vesicle-to-micelle transition (VMT) if αSDS = 0...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
G K Dolan, G E Yakubov, M R Bonilla, P Lopez-Sanchez, J R Stokes
The tribology between biphasic materials is challenging to predict and interpret due to the interrelationship between mechanical properties, microstructure and movement of the fluid phase contained within. A new approach is presented to deconvolute these effects for cellulose hydrogels, which have a fibrous network that is akin to the microstructure of articular cartilage and plant cell walls. This is achieved by developing a tribo-rheological technique that uniquely incorporates in situ mechanical characterisation (compression-relaxation and small amplitude oscillatory shear) immediately prior to measuring the tribological response between pairs of hydrogels...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
Margarita A Dyakonova, George Gotzamanis, Bart-Jan Niebuur, Natalya S Vishnevetskaya, Konstantinos N Raftopoulos, Zhenyu Di, Sergey K Filippov, Constantinos Tsitsilianis, Christine M Papadakis
We investigate the influence of pH on the rheological and structural properties of hydrogels formed by hydrophobic association of the sticky ends of the triblock terpolymer poly(methyl methacrylate)-b-poly(2-(diethylamino)ethyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid)-b-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA-b-P(DEA-co-MAA)-b-PMMA). The middle block is a weak polyampholyte having a pH dependent charge density and sign, which enables tuning of the rheological and structural properties by pH variation. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) studies of solutions in D2O at 0...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
A Tiwari, L Dorogin, A I Bennett, K D Schulze, W G Sawyer, M Tahir, G Heinrich, B N J Persson
Adhesion between silica glass or acrylic balls and silicone elastomers and various industrial rubbers is investigated. The work of adhesion during pull-off is found to strongly vary depending on the system, which we attribute to the two opposite effects: (1) viscoelastic energy dissipation close to an opening crack tip and (2) surface roughness. Introducing surface roughness on the glass ball is found to increase the work of adhesion for soft elastomers, while for the stiffer elastomers it results in a strong reduction in the work of adhesion...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
Elise F D Sabattié, Jos Tasche, Mark R Wilson, Maximilian W A Skoda, Arwel Hughes, Torsten Lindner, Richard L Thompson
Compatibility between oligomers and polymers was systematically assessed using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and was correlated with similarity in saturation and solubility parameter. These measurements enabled validation of detailed volume of mixing calculations using Statistical Association Fluid Theory (SAFT-γ Mie) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, which can be used to predict behaviour beyond the experimentally accessible conditions. These simulations confirmed that squalane is somewhat more compatible with poly(isoprene), "PI" than poly(butadiene), "PB", and further enabled prediction of the temperature dependence of compatibility...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
Christian Schaaf, Holger Stark
The mechanical deformability of single cells is an important indicator for various diseases such as cancer, blood diseases and inflammation. Lab-on-a-chip devices allow to separate such cells from healthy cells using hydrodynamic forces. We perform hydrodynamic simulations based on the lattice-Boltzmann method and study the behavior of an elastic capsule in a microfluidic channel flow in the inertial regime. While inertial lift forces drive the capsule away from the channel center, its deformability favors migration in the opposite direction...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
Laurens Deprez, Pierre de Buyl
Chemotaxis is the response of a particle to a gradient in the chemical composition of the environment. While it was originally observed for biological organisms, it is of great interest in the context of synthetic active particles such as nanomotors. Experimental demonstration of chemotaxis for chemically-powered colloidal nanomotors was reported in the literature in the context of chemo-attraction in a still fluid or in a microfluidic channel where the gradient is sustained by a specific inlet geometry. In this work, we use mesoscopic particle-based simulations of the colloid and solvent to demonstrate chemotaxis in a microfluidic channel...
April 26, 2017: Soft Matter
Haruka Doi, Kenji Urayama
We investigate the thermal bending behavior of liquid crystal gels with hybrid alignment (H-LCGs) accompanied by volume change in isotropic and nematic solvents. The curvature (r(-1)) of H-LCGs in each solvent markedly depends on the temperature (T) in the nematic state including the reversal of the bending direction, as in the case of the corresponding elastomers in the dry state (H-LCE). The thermal bending of three systems-H-LCGs in isotropic and nematic solvents and H-LCE-differs significantly in several aspects including the T range where r(-1) depends on T and the total variation of r(-1)...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Shenghui Wei, Weiheng Huang, Fengmei Su, Xiaoliang Tang, Ningdong Huang, Liangbin Li
We report diverse meso-phase arrangements of supra-molecular nanotubes assembled by ionic benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide (BTA) molecules in water; their transition pathway and equilibrium structure are controlled by the helical structure. Besides, the different sensitivity to the condition of initial solutions is revealed for the final rectangular phase and the intermediate phase.
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Yousra Timounay, Florence Rouyer
We compute the effective viscosity of particulate soap films thanks to local velocity fields obtained by Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) during film retraction experiments. We identify the jamming of these 2D capillary suspensions at a critical particle surface fraction (≃0.84) where effective viscosity diverges. Pair correlation function and number of neighbors in contact or close to contact reveal the cohesive nature of this 2D capillary granular media. The experimental 2D dynamic viscosities can be predicted by a model considering viscous dissipation at the liquid interfaces induced by the motion of individual particles...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Kai Liu, Gary R Marple, Jun Allard, Shuwang Li, Shravan Veerapaneni, John Lowengrub
We study the fully nonlinear, nonlocal dynamics of two-dimensional multicomponent vesicles in a shear flow with matched viscosity of the inner and outer fluids. Using a nonstiff, pseudo-spectral boundary integral method, we investigate dynamical patterns induced by inhomogeneous bending for a two phase system. Numerical results reveal that there exist novel phase-treading and tumbling mechanisms that cannot be observed for a homogeneous vesicle. In particular, unlike the well-known steady tank-treading dynamics characterized by a fixed inclination angle, here the phase-treading mechanism leads to unsteady periodic dynamics with an oscillatory inclination angle...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Huifang Xu, Na Du, Yawen Song, Shue Song, Wanguo Hou
In the current work, the microviscosity, encapsulation, and permeability of 2-ketooctanoic acid (KOCOOH) vesicle membranes were investigated by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence techniques, using 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH), riboflavin, and calcein as fluorescence probes. Our results show that the microviscosity of KOCOOH membranes is similar to that of common bilayer aggregates, the KOCOOH vesicles have the ability to encapsulate hydrophilic guests, and the KOCOOH membranes are permeable to ions...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Maxence Arutkin, Elie Raphaël, James A Forrest, Thomas Salez
Correction for 'Cooperative strings in glassy nanoparticles' by Maxence Arutkin et al., Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 141-146.
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Ryota Tamate, Takeshi Ueki, Mitsuhiro Shibayama, Ryo Yoshida
In this study, factors controlling autonomous vesicle oscillations exhibited by self-oscillating diblock copolymers were investigated. The self-oscillating diblock copolymer contains poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as the hydrophilic block and a random copolymer composed of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) with side chains of ruthenium tris(2,2'-bipyridine) (Ru(bpy)3), which catalyzes the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, as the self-oscillating block. Recently, our group has reported that a diblock copolymer exhibits a unique autonomous disintegration and reconstruction of the vesicles driven by the periodic redox changes of Ru(bpy)3 in a catalyst-free BZ reaction solution...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Aurélie Hourlier-Fargette, Arnaud Antkowiak, Antoine Chateauminois, Sébastien Neukirch
We report an unexpected behavior in wetting dynamics on soft silicone substrates: the dynamics of aqueous droplets deposited on vertical plates of such elastomers exhibits two successive speed regimes. This macroscopic observation is found to be closely related to microscopic phenomena occurring at the scale of the polymer network: we show that uncrosslinked chains found in most widely used commercial silicone elastomers are responsible for this surprising behavior. A direct visualization of the uncrosslinked oligomers collected by water droplets is performed, evidencing that a capillarity-induced phase separation occurs: uncrosslinked oligomers are extracted from the silicone elastomer network by the water-glycerol mixture droplet...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Hiroya Imamura, Kevin Kadooka, Minoru Taya
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA) are one type of promising artificial muscle; however, applications of bending-type DEA for robotic end-effectors may be limited by their low stiffness and ability to resist external loads without buckling. Unimorph DEA can produce large out-of-plane deformation suitable for use as robotic end effectors; however, design of such actuators for large displacement comes at the cost of low stiffness and blocking force. This work proposes and demonstrates a variable stiffness dielectric elastomer actuator (VSDEA) consisting of a plurality of unimorph DEA units operating in parallel, which can exhibit variable electrostatic chucking to modulate the structure's bending stiffness...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
Qiyan Zhang, Jingxia Wang, Jian Yu, Zhao-Xia Guo
The electrical percolation threshold of carbon black (CB) in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) decreases by 46% with the incorporation of 20 wt% polyamide copolymer (COPA) through selective localization of CB particles at the interface of sea-island structured TPU/COPA blends. Composites with a composition of TPU/20 wt% COPA/9 wt% CB were prepared by four different mixing sequences and their morphologies were investigated by FESEM and TEM. The majority of CB particles were observed at the interface of sea-island structured blends irrespective of the compounding sequence used, although the percentage of CB particles at the interface is considerably less in the composite prepared by adding COPA to premixed TPU/CB...
April 25, 2017: Soft Matter
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