Volume 1, Issue 2, June 2014
Index of content:
- APPLIED PHYSICS REVIEWS
1(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4871083View Description Hide Description
Ice-templating techniques, including freeze-drying and freeze casting, are extremely versatile and can be used with a variety of materials systems. The process relies on the freezing of a water based solution. During freezing, ice nucleates within the solution and concentrates the solute in the regions between the growing crystals. Once the ice is removed via sublimation, the solute remains in a porous structure, which is a negative of the ice. As the final structure of the ice relies on the freezing of the solution, the variables which influence ice nucleation and growth alter the structure of ice-templated scaffolds. Nucleation, the initial step of freezing, can be altered by the type and concentration of solutes within the solution, as well as the set cooling rate before freezing. After nucleation, crystal growth and annealing processes, such as Ostwald ripening, determine the features of the final scaffold. Both crystal growth and annealing are sensitive to many factors including the set freezing temperature and solutes. The porous structures created using ice-templating allow scaffolds to be used for many diverse applications, from microfluidics to biomedical tissue engineering. Within the field of tissue engineering, scaffold structure can influence cellular behavior, and is thus critical for determining the biological stimulus supplied by the scaffold. The research focusing on controlling the ice-templated structure serves as a model for how other ice-templating systems might be tailored, to expand the applications of ice-templated structures to their full potential.
1(2014); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4871365View Description Hide Description
Structural hierarchy and heterogeneity are inherent features in biological materials, but their significance in affecting the system behaviors is yet to be fully understood. In Sec. I, this article first identifies the major characteristics that manifest, or are resulted from, such hierarchy and heterogeneity in materials. Then in Sec. II, it presents several typical natural material systems including wood, bone, and others from animals to illustrate the proposed views. The paper also discusses a man-made smart material, textiles, to demonstrate that textiles are hierarchal, multifunctional, highly complex, and arguably the engineered material closest on a par with biological materials in complexity, and, more importantly, we can still learn quite a few new things from them in development of novel materials. In Sec. III, the paper summarizes several general approaches in developing a hierarchal material system at various scales, including structure thinning and splitting, laminating and layering, spatial and angular orientation, heterogenization and hybridization, and analyzes the advantages associated with them. It also stresses the adverse consequences once the existing structural hierarchy breaks down due to various mutations in biological systems. It discusses, in particular, the influences of moisture and air on material properties, given the near ubiquitousness of both air and water in materials. It next deals with in Sec. IV, some theoretical issues in material research including packing and ordering, the bi-modular mechanics, the behavior non-affinities due to disparity in hierarchal levels, the importance of system dimensionality in a hierarchal material system, and more philosophically, the issues of Nature's wisdom versus Intelligent Design. Section V then offers some concluding remarks, including a recap of the major issues covered in this article, and some general conclusions derived from the analyses and discussions. The main purpose of this paper is to make an effort to explore, identify, derive, or theorize some generic principles based on the existing results, not to offer another comprehensive review of current research activities in the fields for that there already exist some excellent ones. This paper examines the related topics with several approaches to not only reveal the underlying geometrical and physical mechanisms but also to emphasize the ways in which such mechanisms may be applied to developing engineered material systems with novel properties.