World population is continuously growing, as well as the influence we have on the ecosystem’s natural equilibrium. Moreover, such growth is not homogeneous and it results in an overall increase of older people. Humanity’s activity, growth and aging leads to many challenging issues to address: among them, there are the spread of suddenly and/or chronic diseases, malnutrition, resource pressure and environmental pollution. Research in the novel field of biodegradable soft robotics and electronics can help dealing with these issues. In fact, to face the aging of the population, it is necessary an improvement in rehabilitation technologies, physiological and continuous monitoring, as well as personalized care and therapy. Also in the agricultural sector, an accurate and efficient direct measure of the plants health conditions would be of help especially in the less-developed countries. But since living beings, such as humans and plants, are constituted by soft tissues that continuously change their size and shapes, today’s traditional technologies, based on rigid materials, may not be able to provide an efficient interaction necessary to satisfy these needs: the mechanical mismatch is too prohibitive. Instead, soft robotic systems and devices can be designed to combine active functionalities with soft mechanical properties that can allow them to efficiently and safely interact with soft living tissues. Soft implantable biomedical devices, smart rehabilitation devices and compliant sensors for plants are all applications that can be achieved with soft technologies. The development of sophisticated autonomous soft systems needs the integration on a unique soft body or platform of many functionalities (such as mechanical actuation, energy harvesting, storage and delivery, sensing capabilities). A great research interest is recently arising on this topic, but yet not so many groups are focusing their efforts in the use of natural-derived and biodegradable raw materials. In fact, resource pressure and environmental pollution are becoming more and more critical problems. It should be completely avoided the use of in exhaustion, pollutant, toxic and non-degradable resources, such as lithium, petroleum derivatives, halogenated compounds and organic solvents. So-obtained biodegradable soft systems and devices could then be manufactured in high number and deployed in the environment to fulfil their duties without the need to recover them, since they can safely degrade in the environment. The aim of the current Ph.D. project is the use of natural-derived and biodegradable polymers and substances as building blocks for the development of smart composite materials that could operate as functional elements in a soft robotic system or device. Soft mechanical properties and electronic/ionic conductive properties are here combined together within smart nanocomposite materials. The use of supersonic cluster beam deposition (SCBD) technique enabled the fabrication of cluster-assembled Au electrodes that can partially penetrate into the surface of soft materials, providing an efficient solution to the challenge of coupling conductive metallic layers and soft deformable polymeric substrates. In this work, cellulose derivatives and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) bioplastic are used as building blocks for the development of both underwater and in-air soft electromechanical actuators that are characterized and tested. A cellulosic matrix is blended with natural-derived ionic liquids to design and manufacture completely biodegradable supercapacitors, extremely interesting energy storage devices. Lastly, ultrathin Au electrodes are here deposited on biodegradable cellulose acetate sheets, in order to develop transparent flexible electronics as well as bidirectional resistive-type strain sensors. The results obtained in this work can be regarded as a preliminary study towards the realization of full natural-derived and biodegradable soft robotic and electronic systems and devices.

DEVELOPMENT OF FUNCTIONAL NANOCOMPOSITE MATERIALS TOWARDS BIODEGRADABLE SOFT ROBOTICS AND FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS / L. Migliorini ; ph.d. course coordinator: D. M. Roberto ; supervisor: R. Sandra. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI CHIMICA, 2020 Jan 30. ((32. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2019. [10.13130/migliorini-lorenzo_phd2020-01-30].

DEVELOPMENT OF FUNCTIONAL NANOCOMPOSITE MATERIALS TOWARDS BIODEGRADABLE SOFT ROBOTICS AND FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS

L. Migliorini
2020-01-30

Abstract

World population is continuously growing, as well as the influence we have on the ecosystem’s natural equilibrium. Moreover, such growth is not homogeneous and it results in an overall increase of older people. Humanity’s activity, growth and aging leads to many challenging issues to address: among them, there are the spread of suddenly and/or chronic diseases, malnutrition, resource pressure and environmental pollution. Research in the novel field of biodegradable soft robotics and electronics can help dealing with these issues. In fact, to face the aging of the population, it is necessary an improvement in rehabilitation technologies, physiological and continuous monitoring, as well as personalized care and therapy. Also in the agricultural sector, an accurate and efficient direct measure of the plants health conditions would be of help especially in the less-developed countries. But since living beings, such as humans and plants, are constituted by soft tissues that continuously change their size and shapes, today’s traditional technologies, based on rigid materials, may not be able to provide an efficient interaction necessary to satisfy these needs: the mechanical mismatch is too prohibitive. Instead, soft robotic systems and devices can be designed to combine active functionalities with soft mechanical properties that can allow them to efficiently and safely interact with soft living tissues. Soft implantable biomedical devices, smart rehabilitation devices and compliant sensors for plants are all applications that can be achieved with soft technologies. The development of sophisticated autonomous soft systems needs the integration on a unique soft body or platform of many functionalities (such as mechanical actuation, energy harvesting, storage and delivery, sensing capabilities). A great research interest is recently arising on this topic, but yet not so many groups are focusing their efforts in the use of natural-derived and biodegradable raw materials. In fact, resource pressure and environmental pollution are becoming more and more critical problems. It should be completely avoided the use of in exhaustion, pollutant, toxic and non-degradable resources, such as lithium, petroleum derivatives, halogenated compounds and organic solvents. So-obtained biodegradable soft systems and devices could then be manufactured in high number and deployed in the environment to fulfil their duties without the need to recover them, since they can safely degrade in the environment. The aim of the current Ph.D. project is the use of natural-derived and biodegradable polymers and substances as building blocks for the development of smart composite materials that could operate as functional elements in a soft robotic system or device. Soft mechanical properties and electronic/ionic conductive properties are here combined together within smart nanocomposite materials. The use of supersonic cluster beam deposition (SCBD) technique enabled the fabrication of cluster-assembled Au electrodes that can partially penetrate into the surface of soft materials, providing an efficient solution to the challenge of coupling conductive metallic layers and soft deformable polymeric substrates. In this work, cellulose derivatives and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) bioplastic are used as building blocks for the development of both underwater and in-air soft electromechanical actuators that are characterized and tested. A cellulosic matrix is blended with natural-derived ionic liquids to design and manufacture completely biodegradable supercapacitors, extremely interesting energy storage devices. Lastly, ultrathin Au electrodes are here deposited on biodegradable cellulose acetate sheets, in order to develop transparent flexible electronics as well as bidirectional resistive-type strain sensors. The results obtained in this work can be regarded as a preliminary study towards the realization of full natural-derived and biodegradable soft robotic and electronic systems and devices.
RONDININI, SANDRA
ROBERTO, DOMINIQUE MARIE
biodegradable; supercapacitors; soft robotics; hydrogels; electroactive hydrogels; ionogels; electroactive polymers; metal-polymer composites; supersonic cluster beam deposition; strain sensor; nanoparticles;
Settore CHIM/02 - Chimica Fisica
Centro Interdisciplinare Materiali ed Interfacce Nanostrutturati - CIMAINA
DEVELOPMENT OF FUNCTIONAL NANOCOMPOSITE MATERIALS TOWARDS BIODEGRADABLE SOFT ROBOTICS AND FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS / L. Migliorini ; ph.d. course coordinator: D. M. Roberto ; supervisor: R. Sandra. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI CHIMICA, 2020 Jan 30. ((32. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2019. [10.13130/migliorini-lorenzo_phd2020-01-30].
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/704286
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