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Soft Matter

Clint Y H Wong, Mokhtar Adda-Bedia, Dominic Vella
We consider the flotation of deformable, non-wetting drops on a liquid interface. We consider the deflection of both the liquid interface and the droplet itself in response to the buoyancy forces, density difference and the various surface tensions within the system. Our results suggest new insight into a range of phenomena in which such drops occur, including Leidenfrost droplets and floating liquid marbles. In particular, we show that the floating state of liquid marbles is very sensitive to the tension of the particle-covered interface and suggest that this sensitivity may make such experiments a useful assay of the properties of these complex interfaces...
June 23, 2017: Soft Matter
Yasutaka Iwashita, Yasuyuki Kimura
Closely packed spherical patchy particles exhibit a range of orientationally ordered equilibrium structures depending on patch size and particle arrangement due to the existence of a sticky inter-patch interaction and rotational degrees of freedom. We experimentally study the packing density dependence of such ordering in particles with a thin deposited patch which imparts a shape anisotropy of a few percent in aspect ratio. These are confined between flat substrates with a chamber thickness of up to two particle layers...
June 23, 2017: Soft Matter
Arthur C Newton, T Anh Nguyen, Sandra J Veen, Daniela J Kraft, Peter Schall, Peter G Bolhuis
Colloidal particles suspended in a binary liquid mixture can interact via solvent mediated interactions, known as critical Casimir forces. For anisotropic colloids this interaction becomes directional, which leads to rich phase behavior. While experimental imaging and particle tracking techniques allow determination of isotropic effective potentials via Boltzmann inversion, the modeling of effective interaction in anisotropic systems is non-trivial precisely because of this directionality. Here we extract effective interaction potentials for non-spherical dumbbell particles from observed radial and angular distributions, by employing reference interaction site model (RISM) theory and direct Monte Carlo simulations...
June 23, 2017: Soft Matter
Fred Fu, Nasser Mohieddin Abukhdeir
Unlike the canonical application of liquid crystals (LCs), LC displays, emerging technologies based on LC materials are increasingly leveraging the presence of nanoscale defects. The inherent nanoscale characteristics of LC defects present both significant opportunities as well as barriers for the application of this fascinating class of materials. Simulation-based approaches to the study of the effects of confinement and interface anchoring conditions on LC domains has resulted in significant progress over the past decade, where simulations are now able to access experimentally-relevant length scales while simultaneously capturing nanoscale defect structures...
June 22, 2017: Soft Matter
I Dierking, M Heberle, M A Osipov, F Giesselmann
Dispersions of magnetic nanoparticles in a nematic liquid crystal were investigated as magnetic fields were applied in three different boundary condition geometries: (i) planar substrates and B ⊥ n, (ii) planar substrates and B ‖ n, and (iii) homeotropic substrates and B ⊥ n. Particle chaining is observed when a magnetic field is applied, with a periodicity perpendicular to the chains. Furthermore, linear chains are observed for the magnetic field applied perpendicular to the director, while zigzag chains are formed when the magnetic field direction is parallel to the director field...
June 22, 2017: Soft Matter
Liangliang Zhu, Yunteng Cao, Yilun Liu, Zhe Yang, Xi Chen
In nature, a variety of limbless locomotion patterns flourish, from the small or basic life forms (Escherichia coli, amoebae, etc.) to the large or intelligent creatures (e.g., slugs, starfishes, earthworms, octopuses, jellyfishes, and snakes). Many bioinspired soft robots based on locomotion have been developed in the past few decades. In this work, based on the kinematics and dynamics of two representative locomotion modes (i.e., worm-like crawling and snake-like slithering), we propose a broad set of innovative designs for soft mobile robots through simple mechanical principles...
June 20, 2017: Soft Matter
Pardis Rofouie, Damiano Pasini, Alejandro D Rey
Liquid crystalline phases found in many biological materials, such as actin, DNA, cellulose, and collagen can be responsible for the deformation of cell membranes. In this paper, cell membrane deformation is investigated through the coupling between liquid crystal anisotropy and membrane bending elasticity. The generalized shape equation for anisotropic interfaces, which resort to the Cahn-Hoffman capillarity vector, the Rapini-Papoular anchoring energy, and the Helfrich elastic energy, is applied to gain insight into the deformation of closed liquid crystal membranes...
June 20, 2017: Soft Matter
Benxin Jing, Jie Qiu, Yingxi Zhu
Coacervate complexes that are liquid-liquid separated complex materials are often formed by stoichiometrically mixing oppositely charged polyelectrolytes in salted aqueous solution. Entropy-driven ion pairing, resulting from the release of counterions near polyelectrolytes, has been identified as the primary driving force for coacervate formation between oppositely charged polyelectrolytes, including proteins and DNA, in aqueous solution. In this work we have examined the complexation between net neutral zwitterionic poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate) (PSBMA) and inorganic polyoxometalate (POM) polyanions in LiCl aqueous solutions...
June 20, 2017: Soft Matter
V K Sharma, Douglas G Hayes, Volker S Urban, Hugh M O'Neill, M Tyagi, E Mamontov
Bicontinous microemulsions (BμE) generally consist of nanodomains formed by surfactant in a mixture of water and oil at nearly equal proportions and are potential candidates for the solubilization and purification of membrane proteins. Here we present the first time report of nanoscopic dynamics of surfactant monolayers within BμEs formed by the anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) measured on the nanosecond to picosecond time scale using quasielastic neutron scattering (QENS). BμEs investigated herein consisted of middle phases isolated from Winsor-III microemulsion systems that were formed by mixing aqueous and oil solutions under optimal conditions...
June 20, 2017: Soft Matter
Huicheng Feng, Yi Huang, Teck Neng Wong, Fei Duan
This paper reports an interesting phenomenon that the velocity increases with increasing sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration in induced charge electroosmosis (ICEO) around a conducting cylinder measured by microparticle image velocimetry (μPIV). It is different from the widely reported velocity decay with increasing electrolyte concentration in AC electroosmosis (ACEO) [M. Z. Bazant et al., MicroTAS, 2007, 2875-2878] and induced charge electrophoresis (ICEP) of Janus particles [S. Gangwal et al., Phys. Rev...
June 20, 2017: Soft Matter
Matthias Lessel, Joshua D McGraw, Oliver Bäumchen, Karin Jacobs
This study reveals the influence of the surface energy and solid/liquid boundary condition on the breakup mechanism of dewetting ultra-thin polymer films. Using silane self-assembled monolayers, SiO2 substrates are rendered hydrophobic and provide a strong slip rather than a no-slip solid/liquid boundary condition. On undergoing these changes, the thin-film breakup morphology changes dramatically - from a spinodal mechanism to a breakup which is governed by nucleation and growth. The experiments reveal a dependence of the hole density on film thickness and temperature...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Zhantao Wang, Dirk van den Ende, Arjen Pit, Rudy Lagraauw, Daniël Wijnperlé, Frieder Mugele
Aqueous sessile drops are launched from a super-hydrophobic surface by electric actuation in an electrowetting configuration with a voltage pulse of variable duration. We show that the jump height, i.e. the amount of energy that is transferred from surface energy to the translational degree of freedom, depends not only on the applied voltage but also in a periodic manner on the duration of the actuation pulse. Specifically, we find that the jump height for a pulse of optimized duration is almost twice as high as the one obtained upon turning off the voltage after equilibration of the drop under electrowetting...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Han Liu, Shaobao Liu, Jiaojiao Jiao, Tian Jian Lu, Feng Xu
Nature has inspired mankind to create novel inventions with biomimetic structures and materials, where plants provide a significant source of inspiration. Plants have evolved a range of effective appendages, among which trichomes have attracted extensive research interest due to their enormous functions. It is important to understand trichome functions and corresponding mechanisms for their bioinspired applications. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the diverse functions of trichomes, with emphasis placed upon their roles as biophysical barriers that can create a complex three-dimensional (3D) network to help the plant adapt to severe environments...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Filip Dutka, Zbigniew Rozynek, Marek Napiórkowski
Capillary bridges can be used for fabricating new materials and structures. Here, we describe theoretically and validate experimentally the mechanism of formation of capillary bridges during a process in which a beaded chain is being pulled out from a liquid with a planar surface. There are two types of capillary bridges present in this system, namely the sphere-planar liquid surface bridge initially formed between the spherical bead leaving the liquid bath and the initially planar liquid surface, and the sphere-sphere capillary bridge formed between neighbouring beads in the part of the chain above the liquid surface...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Shengyou Yang, Xuanhe Zhao, Pradeep Sharma
Pull-in instability often occurs when a film of a dielectric elastomer is subjected to an electric field. In this work, we concoct a set of simple, experimentally implementable, conditions that render the dielectric elastomer film impervious to pull-in instability for all practical loading conditions. We show that a uniaxially pre-stretched film has a significantly large actuation stretch in the direction perpendicular to the pre-stretch and find that the maximal specific energy of a dielectric elastomer generator can be increased from 6...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Mitchell L Sesso, George V Franks
This work demonstrates a method of measuring the fracture toughness of particulate materials comprised of colloidal sized particles over a wide range of saturation. Diametral compression of cylinders containing flaws of controlled length was used to measure the mode I fracture toughness. The effect of degree of saturation on the fracture toughness of slip cast ceramic grade alumina (d50 = 0.7 μm) was investigated. Dry powder compacts have significantly lower fracture toughness than when the powder compact is nearly fully saturated...
June 19, 2017: Soft Matter
Wesley F Reinhart, Andrew W Long, Michael P Howard, Andrew L Ferguson, Athanassios Z Panagiotopoulos
We present a machine learning technique to discover and distinguish relevant ordered structures from molecular simulation snapshots or particle tracking data. Unlike other popular methods for structural identification, our technique requires no a priori description of the target structures. Instead, we use nonlinear manifold learning to infer structural relationships between particles according to the topology of their local environment. This graph-based approach yields unbiased structural information which allows us to quantify the crystalline character of particles near defects, grain boundaries, and interfaces...
June 16, 2017: Soft Matter
Jurij Sablić, Matej Praprotnik, Rafael Delgado-Buscalioni
This work analyses the rotation of star polymers under shear flow, in melts, and in good solvent dilute solution. The latter is modeled by single molecule Brownian hydrodynamics, while melts are modeled using non-equilibrium molecular dynamics in closed (periodic) boxes and in open boundaries. A Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD) thermostat introduces pairwise monomer friction in melts at will, in directions normal and tangent to the monomer-monomer vectors. Although tangential friction is seldom modeled, we show that it is essential to control hydrodynamic effects in melts...
June 15, 2017: Soft Matter
Alejandro Cuetos, Matthew Dennison, Andrew Masters, Alessandro Patti
We examine the phase behaviour of colloidal suspensions of hard board-like particles (HBPs) as a function of their shape anisotropy, and observe a fascinating spectrum of nematic, smectic, and columnar liquid-crystalline phases, whose formation is entirely driven by excluded volume effects. We map out the phase diagram of short and long HBPs by gradually modifying their shape from prolate to oblate and investigate the long-range order of the resulting morphologies along the phase directors and perpendicularly to them...
June 15, 2017: Soft Matter
Elisabeth Agoritsas, Kirsten Martens
In this work we discuss possible physical origins of non-trivial exponents in the athermal rheology of soft materials at low but finite driving rates. A key ingredient in our scenario is the presence of a self-consistent mechanical noise that stems from the spatial superposition of long-range elastic responses to localized plastically deforming regions. We study analytically a mean-field model, in which this mechanical noise is accounted for by a stress diffusion term coupled to the plastic activity. Within this description we show how a dependence of the shear modulus and/or the local relaxation time on the shear rate introduces corrections to the usual mean-field prediction, concerning the Herschel-Bulkley-type rheological response of exponent 1/2...
June 15, 2017: Soft Matter
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