Dr Andrea Giuntoli of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials has received an Open Competition Science M grant from the Dutch Research Council (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, NWO). Giuntoli receives an M1 grant worth EUR 350,000 for his project ‘Better ultra‐soft elastomers through defects control’.
M grants are intended for innovative, high-quality fundamental research and / or studies with scientific urgency.
Defects in materials are not only unavoidable, they can also be used smartly to improve mechanical properties. This idea inspired this project for a new class of ultra-soft rubbers consisting of a cross-linked network of bottlebrush polymers. These materials contain imperfections on various length scales, but it is unknown how this diversity affects the final material properties. With defect engineering as the ultimate goal, various large-scale computer simulations are used in this project which, supplemented with machine learning algorithms, will provide insight into the role of multiscale defects on the mechanical properties of bottlebrush polymer networks.
M-grants are intended for realizing curiosity-driven, fundamental research of high quality and / or scientific urgency. The grant offers researchers the possibility to elaborate creative and risky ideas and to realise scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.
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