HOT Articles for March!

Phase separation in ternary fluid mixtures: a molecular dynamics study
Awaneesh Singh and Sanjay Puri

Graphical abstract: Phase separation in ternary fluid mixtures: a molecular dynamics study

Phase transformations in binary colloidal monolayers
Ye Yang, Lin Fu, Catherine Marcoux, Joshua E. S. Socolar, Patrick Charbonneau and Benjamin B. Yellen 

Graphical abstract: Phase transformations in binary colloidal monolayers
These articles will be free until 30th March 2015


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Building Next-Generation Superplasticisers from Plant-Derived Lignin

Web writer Rob Woodward summarises a recent article from the journal

Superplasticisers are a class of materials used to inhibit aggregation in hydraulic cement, improving workability and reducing water requirements without sacrificing strength. Most superplasticisers are anionic polymer dispersants, such as the leading commercial products, polycarboxylate ethers. A low-cost alternative to this class of materials is provided by the plant-derived biopolymer lignin. Lignin is an abundant biopolymer as it is found in most land plants as a component in cell walls. However, Lignin-based substances are poorly performing plasticisers and attempts to significantly improve their properties by copolymerisation with synthetic monomers have thus far been relatively unsuccessful.

In this recent report Gupta et al. provide an alternate approach to the production of high-performance superplasticisers by utilising lignin as a macroinitiator for a reverse addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerisation. RAFT is a controlled radical polymerisation technique, which affords good control of molecular weight and polydispersity. Acrylamide was polymerised from the lignin surface in order to create grafted architectures composed of lignin cores with synthetic polyacrylamide coronas. It is found that the lignin compounds synthesised using RAFT polymerisation are more efficient superplasticisers than those prepared by free radical polymerisation, due to their unique polymer-grafted architecture.

The resulting lignin based materials reduced the yield stress of cement paste to similar levels as a leading commercial superplasticiser at concentrations ten-fold lower. These compounds have excellent potential as next-generation admixtures for hydraulic cement, with further work needed to clarify optimal grafting density and length of coronal polymer-chains.

Comparison of physical properties of cement with different superplasticizers
Comparison of physical properties of cement with different superplasticisers

To findout more read the full article below:

Molecular Architecture Requirements for Polymer-Grafted Lignin Superplasticizers by Chetali Gupta, Madeline J. Sverdlove and Newell R. Washburn, Soft Matter, 2015, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02675F

This post was written by web writer Rob Woodward. Rob is currently based in Imperial College London working in the Polymer and Composite Engineering (PaCE) group. Rob has a background in both responsive polymeric surfactants and microporous organic polymers for carbon capture and storage.

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Soft Matter Prize Winners at 26th Symposium of the Research Group on Polymer Gels

Congratulations go to Matsushita Takuto, Michika Onoda and Kenta Kokado who all won Soft Matter sponsored prizes at the 26th Symposium of the Research Group on Polymer Gels, The Society of Polymer Science held in Tokyo, Japan on 19th-20th January 2015.

26th Symposium of the Research Group on Polymer Gels winner, The Society of Polymer Science
From left to right: Chair: Takao Aoyagi, Prize winners: Matsushita Takuto, Michika Onoda and Kenta Kokado and Royal Society of Chemistry Manager: Hiromitsu Urakami

The Soft Matter poster award was won by Matsushita Takuto who is based at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

The Soft Matter Presentation Award was awarded to Assistant Professor Kenta Kokado who is based at Hokkaido University. Kenta’s research interests are organic and polymer synthesis.

Michika Onoda won the Soft Matter Student Presentation Award. Michika works at the University of Tokyo, Japan.

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Structured Soft and Biological Matter

We are pleased to announce the Structured Soft and Biological Matter one-day symposium which will be held at Durham University, UK on 9th June 2015.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Soft Matter, the symposium will feature thought-provoking talks from members the Soft Matter Editorial Board, and will contain two theme sessions: one focussing on the chemistry, physics and dynamics of condensed polymer rings, and the second on nanostructured soft materials.

Speakers

Michael Rubinstein (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, United States)
Paul Janmey (University of Pennsylvania, United States)
Christos Likos (University of Vienna, Austria)
Darrin Pochan (University of Delaware, United States)
Samuel Safran (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)
Dimitris Vlassopoulos (University of Crete, Greece)
Jian Ping Gong (Hokkaido University, Japan)

Register
Registration is NOW OPEN and will cost £20 per person. Please sign up for what promises to be a fantastic meeting. The deadline for registration is 15th May 2015.

Submit your abstract
There will be the opportunity to present posters, so submit your abstract now to avoid disappointment. The deadline for poster abstract submission is 17th April 2015.

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HOT Articles for February!

Sphere to rod transitions in self assembled systems probed using direct force measurement
Christopher J. Fewkes, Rico F. Tabor and Raymond R. Dagastine

Graphical abstract: Sphere to rod transitions in self assembled systems probed using direct force measurement

Effect of shape on the self-assembly of faceted patchy nanoplates with irregular shape into tiling patterns
Jaime A. Millan, Daniel Ortiz and Sharon C. Glotzer

Graphical abstract: Effect of shape on the self-assembly of faceted patchy nanoplates with irregular shape into tiling patterns

These articles will be free until 3rd March 2015


Angle- and strain-independent coloured free-standing films incorporating non-spherical colloidal photonic crystals
Seon Ju Yeo, Fuquan Tu, Seung-hyun Kim, Gi-Ra Yi, Pil J. Yoo and Daeyeon Lee

Graphical abstract: Angle- and strain-independent coloured free-standing films incorporating non-spherical colloidal photonic crystals

The role of bond tangency and bond gap in hard sphere crystallization of chains
Nikos Ch. Karayiannis, Katerina Foteinopoulou and Manuel Laso

Graphical abstract: The role of bond tangency and bond gap in hard sphere crystallization of chains

These articles will be free until 10th March 2015


2D protein arrays induce 3D in vivo-like assemblies of cells
S. Moreno-Flores and S. Küpcü  

Graphical abstract: 2D protein arrays induce 3D in vivo-like assemblies of cells

Mixed mode of dissolving immersed nanodroplets at a solid–water interface
Xuehua Zhang, Jun Wang, Lei Bao, Erik Dietrich, Roeland C. A. van der Veen, Shuhua Peng, James Friend, Harold J. W. Zandvliet, Leslie Yeo and Detlef Lohse

Graphical abstract: Mixed mode of dissolving immersed nanodroplets at a solid–water interface

These articles will be free until 17th March 2015


Freely drawn single lipid nanotube patterns
Kaori Sugihara, Amin Rustom and Joachim P. Spatz 

Graphical abstract: Freely drawn single lipid nanotube patterns

Liquid crystal quenched orientational disorder at an AFM-scribed alignment surface
J. S. Pendery, T. J. Atherton, M. Nobili, R. G. Petschek, E. Lacaze and C. Rosenblatt

Graphical abstract: Liquid crystal quenched orientational disorder at an AFM-scribed alignment surface

These articles will be free until 24th March 2015


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Caddisfly silk gets shocked into self-recovery

Article written by Emma Stephen

The tough, extendable, energy-dissipating properties of the casemaker caddisfly’s adhesive silk are down to a self-recovering network of calcium crosslinks, new research shows. US researchers behind the discovery hope to harness these findings to design new synthetic bioadhesives that can adhere to wet tissues.

Images (l and m) of silk holding together glass beads in the same way that silk and stones combine to make the body armour (r)

To read the full article visit Chemistry World.

Self-recovering caddisfly silk: energy dissipating, Ca2+-dependent, double dynamic network fibers
Nicholas N. Ashton and Russell J. Stewart  
Soft Matter, 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02435D, Paper

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Joint Biomaterials Science and Soft Matter ‘Silk and silk-inspired materials’ Web Collection

Take a look at the ‘Silk and silk-inspired materials’ web collection, a joint venture by Biomaterials Science and Soft Matter.

Are you interested in why spider silk is so strong? Or maybe you’re intrigued to find out how silk can be utilised in cell delivery? Whatever your curiosity be sure to check out the ‘Silk and silk-inspired materials’ web collection and find out why this growing area of research is proving so popular!

The web collection features articles from both Biomaterials Science and Soft Matter by leading authors from around the world. The collection contains a range of article types which cover the properties and rheology of silk-inspired materials as well as investigations into the surface properties of spider silk particles. Please follow the link to read all the articles in this popular area of research.

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Soft Matter Lectureship: Nominations now open

Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their contribution to the soft matter field?

Now is your chance to propose they receive the accolade they deserve.

Soft Matter is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for its Soft Matter Lectureship 2015. This annual lectureship was established in 2009 to honour an early-stage career scientist who has made a significant contribution to the soft matter field.

Previous winners include:

Eric Dufresne                                            Eric Furst                                                 Patrick Doyle


2014 - Eric Dufresne, based at Yale Univeristy, USA

2013 - Eric Furst, from the University of Delaware, USA

2012 - Patrick Doyle, based at MIT, USA

2011 – Michael J. Solomon, from the University of Michigan, USA

2010 – Bartosz Grzybowski, based at Northwestern University, USA

2009 – Emanuela Zaccarelli, from Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Qualification

To be eligible for the Soft Matter Lectureship, the candidate should be in the earlier stages of their scientific career, typically within 15 years of attaining their doctorate or equivalent degree, and will have made a significant contribution to the field.

Description

The recipient of the award will be asked to present a lecture three times, one of which will be located in the home country of the recipient. The Soft Matter Editorial Office will provide the sum of £1000 to the recipient for travel and accommodation costs.

The award recipient will be presented with the award at one of the three award lectures. They will also be asked to contribute a lead article to the journal and will have their work showcased on the back cover of the issue in which their article is published.

Selection

The recipient of the award will be selected and endorsed by the Soft Matter Editorial Board.

Nominations

Those wishing to make a nomination should send details of the nominee, including a brief C.V. (no longer than 2 pages A4) together with a letter (no longer than 2 pages A4) supporting the nomination, to the Soft Matter Editorial Office by 6th March 2015.  Self-nomination is not permitted.

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Soft Matter Welcomes New Associate Editor Dimitris Vlassopoulos

We are delighted to welcome our newest Soft Matter Associate Editor: Professor Dimitris Vlassopoulos (University of Crete, Greece).

Dimitris is a leading expert in polymer rheology and has published over 160 papers. His research focuses on soft matter physics and engineering problems with specific interests in molecular rheology and rheo-physics in the bulk and at liquid interfaces, architecturally complex polymers, and soft colloids.

Dimitris also brings a wealth of previous editorial experience to the Soft Matter team; we are delighted to have him board.

To find out more about Dimitris’ research, take a look at this recent paper:

Molecular rheology of branched polymers: decoding and exploring the role of architectural dispersity through a synergy of anionic synthesis, interaction chromatography, rheometry and modeling
Evelyn van Ruymbeke, Hyojoon Lee, Taihyun Chang, Anastasia Nikopoulou, Nikos Hadjichristidis, Frank Snijkers, Dimitris Vlassopoulos

And a Soft Matter issue dedicated to the theme of ‘Bridging the gap between soft and hard colloids’ of which Dimtris was a Guest Editor along with Professor Michel Cloitre

As a Soft Matter Associate Editor, Dimitris will be handling submissions to the journal. Why not submit your next paper to his Editorial Office?
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HOT articles for January!

Graphene oxide single sheets as substrates for high resolution cryoTEM
Marcel W. P. van de Put, Joseph P. Patterson, Paul H. H. Bomans, Neil R. Wilson, Heiner Friedrich, Rolf A. T. M. van Benthem, Gijsbertus de With, Rachel K. O’Reilly and Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk

Graphical abstract: Graphene oxide single sheets as substrates for high resolution cryoTEM

Cell membrane wrapping of a spherical thin elastic shell
Xin Yi and Huajian Gao

Graphical abstract: Cell membrane wrapping of a spherical thin elastic shell

 

These articles will be free until 3rd February 2015


A Master equation for the probability distribution functions of forces in soft particle packings
Kuniyasu Saitoh, Vanessa Magnanimo and Stefan Luding

Graphical abstract: A Master equation for the probability distribution functions of forces in soft particle packings

Structural tailoring of hydrogen-bonded poly(acrylic acid)/poly(ethylene oxide) multilayer thin films for reduced gas permeability
Fangming Xiang, Sarah M. Ward, Tara M. Givens and Jaime C. Grunlan

Graphical abstract: Structural tailoring of hydrogen-bonded poly(acrylic acid)/poly(ethylene oxide) multilayer thin films for reduced gas permeability

These articles will be free until 10th February 2015


Smectic layer instabilities in liquid crystals
Ingo Dierking, Michel Mitov and Mikhail A. Osipov

Graphical abstract: Smectic layer instabilities in liquid crystals

 
Graphical abstract: Coarse-grained simulation of dynamin-mediated fission
 
 
 These articles will be free until 17th February 2015Self-recovering caddisfly silk: energy dissipating, Ca2+-dependent, double dynamic network fibers
Nicholas N. Ashton and Russell J. Stewart   

Graphical abstract: Self-recovering caddisfly silk: energy dissipating, Ca2+-dependent, double dynamic network fibers
Structure and percolation of one-patch spherocylinders
Cheng-yu Zhang, Xing-liang Jian and Wei Lu   

Graphical abstract: Structure and percolation of one-patch spherocylinders

These articles will be free until 24th February 2015


 


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