Programming anisotropy into responsive soft materials (2020–2023)
The project aims to generate viscoelastic soft materials with programmable anisotropy using aqueous suspensions of colloidal rods that have tunable surface coatings. The project expects to generate new knowledge in the rheology and structural characteristics of this unique class of materials. A key innovation is the use of charge-directed polymer self-assembly to control colloidal interactions, suspension rheology and phase behaviour. The intended outcome is spatial control over the orientation of nanostructures, potentially mimicking the structural hierarchy found in nature. This should provide significant benefits to the creation of viscoelastic materials with complex rheology as well as structural, mechanical and optical heterogeneity.