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The Power of ‘Soft’

  • Sarah Morehead (a1), Raymond Oliver (a1), Niamh O’Connor (a2), Patrick Stevenson-Keating (a3), Anne Toomey (a4) and Jayne Wallace (a1)...


Over the last decade, the explosion in research and Development associated with nanoscalar materials has continued apace. In parallel with this has been the rapid rise of both sustainable materials and, as a consequence, Natural, Cellular and Responsive material systems. Many of these originate from inorganic, inorganic-organic hybrid composites and polymeric and bio-nano polymeric systems which exhibit intrinsic physico-chemical properties that can be classed as ‘soft’. That is flexible, malleable, lightweight, transparent or semi-transparent and stretchable in character and which can also offer both biocompatible and bioresorbable characteristics essential to useable and sustainable material systems.

This paper describes some of the ways in which we are beginning to understand, explain and exploit ‘soft’ technology. In particular the interactive role of creative design and innovative material science linked through new fabrication methodologies that have, as their common purpose, a focus on compelling Human centred needs. Examples are health, wellness, ambient assistance and urgent improvements in cleanliness, hygiene and nutrition.


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