This project concerns a new class of hydrogels and hydromicrogels based on biomimetic protein polymers. The aim is to understand the multiscale static and dynamic physics of these hydrogels in terms of molecular details.
The materials are made of amino acid sequences consisting of three functional parts: a connector (C) and two different stickers (SA , SB ) in the order SA-C-SB. The connector is a water soluble sequence that does not respond to physicochemical triggers like T, pH or additives, assuming in water a random coil structure under all conditions. The SA and SB sequences self-assemble upon appropriate changes in conditions. Further, an important parameter in polymer networks like those formed by SA-C-SB is the functionality of the nodes: the number of chains emanating from a single node. In the hybrid network of asymmetric telechelics, formation of loops is not possible.(This project is collaborated with Food and Bio-Based Group, WUR; and Modeling Group of Prof. P. Bolhuis, Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam)