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Synthetics Intrinsically Disordered Polymers (Sidps), Soft Robotics, Design, Synthesis, Characterization

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Nature is full of examples of processes that, through evolution, have been perfected over the ages to effectively use matter and sustain life. Here, we present our strategies for designing intrinsically disordered smart polymers for soft robotics applications that are bio-inspired by intrinsically disordered proteins. Bio-inspired intrinsically disordered smart and soft polymers designed using our deep understanding of intrinsically disordered proteins have the potential to open new avenues in soft robotics. Together with other desirable traits, such as robustness, dynamic self-organization, and self-healing abilities, these systems possess ideal characteristics that human-made formations strive for but often fail to achieve. Our main aim is to develop materials for soft robotics applications bio-inspired by intrinsically disordered proteins to address what we see as the largest current barriers in the practical deployment of future soft robotics in various areas, including defense. Much of the current literature has focused on the de novo synthesis of tailor-made polymers to perform specific functions. With bio-inspired polymers, the complexity of protein folding mechanisms has limited the ability of researchers to reliably engineer specific structures. Unlike existing studies, our work is focused on utilizing the high flexibility of intrinsically disordered proteins and their self-organization characteristics using synthetic quasi-foldamers.

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Polymers, v. 15, issue 3, art. 763