(402b) Multiscale out-of-Equilibrium Structural Evolution in Bio-Based Composites | AIChE

(402b) Multiscale out-of-Equilibrium Structural Evolution in Bio-Based Composites


Fraden, S., Brandeis University
Dogic, Z., University of California Santa Barbara
Living things organize intricate structures across lengthscales, from the molecular to the macroscopic. Equally critical is the precise orchestration of self-generated forces which alter these configurations, coordinating locomotion, growth, regulation, and environmental response. To construct soft materials with life-like adaptive and self-organized functionalities, we must control how local, molecular-scale forces climb through lengthscales, altering structures and properties along the way.

Here, we introduce a composite fibrous network of filamentous actin and microtubules, driven out-of-equilibrium by engineered kinesin motor clusters1. By tuning the intra- and inter-network interactions with manmade and natural crosslinkers, we prescribe how the molecular motors can re-arrange the local microstructure, and program the emergent macroscale structure and dynamics. The extraordinary structural response to motor-driven reconfiguration exhibits rich behavior reminiscent of the the time-varying structures in living cells. Amongst others, we characterize the self-assembly of onion-like asters whose underlying dynamics ensure its robust structure and demonstrate the temporal stability is encoded in the mechanical properties of the network. This work highlights the potential of a new class of functional soft materials, whose structure and dynamics cannot be obtained through traditional material engineering approaches.

1. Berezney et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2022; 119 (5), e2115895119