Transiently pulsating materials inspired by the heart

Replicating the responsiveness of living systems with an artificial, out-of-equilibrium autonomous system

The key function of the heart is to pump blood by contraction and expansion of the heart muscle. This shape change is triggered by a nerve stimulus and, once started, the contraction and expansion sequence occur autonomously. Thus, the heart is a good example for an out-of-equilibrium system that is perturbed by a stimulus, followed by an autonomous mechanical response that lasts for a defined duration of time and then reverts to its resting state. This project aims to mimic the working principle of the heart muscle by creating polymersome-laden hydrogel materials that change their size and mechanical properties after being triggered by an external stimulus, stay in this altered state for a defined time and then revert back to their original size and mechanical properties.

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