Soft Materials

Main content

3D printing technology enables the production of lost-wax casted soft silicone pumps, which are driven by combustion and can be used to build soft motors (e.g., an artificial heart) and soft robots. Other projects include the development of bio-inspired self-defending materials and sustainable air purification techniques.


Soft Machines

Contact: Xavier Kohll

Have you ever seen a motor running under deformational stress? This is only one of the advantages resulting from latest research in soft motoring. These machines are based on traditional engineering concepts but do not carry along the necessity of dimensionally tight and preset boundarys for machine parts. Latest 3D printing technology enables the production of such light weight machines, made from elastomers (e.g. PDMS). We are currently exploring their use as soft pumps in highly complex sytsems, namely as total artificial hearts.

Publications in this area:

  • Adv. Funct. Mater., 2015. Link
  • SoRo., 2015. Link
  • RSC Adv., 2014. Link
  • Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2014. Link
  • CardioVasc. Thorac. Surg., 2013. Link
  • Adv. Funct. Mater., 2013. Link


Self-defending Foil

Contact: Prof. Wendelin Stark

The sophisticated defence mechanism of the bombardier beetle inspired us to develop a self-defending surface. Compounds, namely hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and manganese oxide (MnO2), are stored in different layers within the surface. Upon fracture by a mechanical trigger, the compounds mix and hot foam leaks the surface. As an application we proposed the implementation in money security systems as in ATMs by adding a dye and forensic DNA nanoparticles. An improper opening of the money cassette would lead to coloured and devalued money bills, which are labelled and can be assigned to the related ATM machine.

Publications in the area:

  • J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014. Link


Sustainable Air Purification

Contact: Prof. Wendelin Stark

Everyone is happy when he or she can breathe clean and save air. Something that is obvious in developed countries can be a cost and energy intensive challenge elsewhere. Even in developed countries huge savings can be made in air purification. Instead of replacing indoor air several times per hour we seek for sustainable strategies to remove air pollutants and regenerate in situ the used air purifier. To allow market relevant solutions, we combine established technologies and materials to new concepts.

Publication in the area:

  • J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014. Link
  • Appl. Catal. B: Environmental, 2013. Link


Page URL:
Wed Jul 26 01:36:40 CEST 2017
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich