Extreme Soft Materials Laboratory

Soft materials are materials of choice in diverse modern technologies such as tissue adhesives, bioelectronics, and soft robots. In all these technologies, the mechanical and physical properties of soft materials play an indispensable role, which are governed by phenomena that span across different length scales, from nanometers (polymer chains), to mesoscales (network topology), up to macroscales (bulk materials). Currently, a barrier between these different disciplines prevents a cross-scale understanding, thereby limiting the space for reaching extreme properties of soft materials. 

The research in Lin Research Group, at the intersection of solid mechanics, polymer science, and advanced manufacturing, aims to understand the processing-structure-property relationships of soft materials, thereby pushing the limit of mechanical and physical properties of soft materials. Our mission is to leverage extreme soft materials for next-generation technologies including long-term healthcare, sustainable water harvesting, and energy-saving buildings.


Featured Videos

[May 2023] [Talk] Invited virtual talk "Extreme Soft Materials for Long-term Healthcare and Sustainable Water Harvesting" in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering at Tsinghua University.

[May 2023] [News] My PhD student Jiabin Liu passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. Congrats!

[April 2023] [Service] A group of K12 students and their parents in the local area of Lansing visited my lab. Glad to see their interests in diving into the mechanics and science of polymers. 

[April 2023] [News] My undergraduate student Sean Blanchard was selected for the 2022-23 Undergraduate Student Service Award. Hearty congrats!

[April 2023] [News] My PhD student Tsz Hung Wong has been selected to attend the BioPACIFIC MIP MIP 2023 Summer School at UCSB and UCLA. Huge congrats! Link

[April 2023] [News] Our work on unusually absorbent hydrogels is highlighted by MIT News. Link

[Mar 2023] [Paper] The first research paper in Lin Research Group entitled "Unusual temperature dependence of water sorption in semi-crystalline hydrogels" has been accepted for publication in Advanced Materials. Huge congrats!

[Jan 2023] [News] My PhD student Chuwei Ye passed the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. Congrats!

[Jan 2023] [Service] Dr. Lin is elected as the new editor of the ASME Technical Committee of Mechanics of Soft Materials. Congrats!

[Dec 2022] [Teaching] Dr. Lin successfully completed his first-semester teaching on Dynamics. 81 students, 15 homework, 26 lecture notes, 3 semester exams, and 1 final exam. What a memorable teaching experience!

[Dec 2022] [News] Dr. Lin received the Trifecta Initiative Facilitating Funds Award. Congrats! Link

[Nov 2022] [Talk] Invited Talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Design" at Dow in Midland, MI.

[Oct 2022] [Service] I, together with Jie Zheng at the University of Arkon, Zhao Qin at Syracuse University, Xiaoguang Dong at Vanderbilt University, Aniruddh Vashisth at the University of Washington organized a session on Extreme Mechanics of Soft Materials by Polymer-network Design at SES2022 at Texas A&M Engineering. What high-quality talks! Link

[Oct 2022] [News] My lab at Anthony Hall is finally ready to move in. Such great news to share!

[Sep 2022] [News] Chuwei's research paper entitled "Smart Steering Sleeve (S3): A Non-Intrusive and Integrative Sensing Platform for Driver Physiological Monitoring" has been published in Sensors. Congrats! Link

[Sep 2022] [Talk] Invited Talk "Polymer-network Design off Hydrogels for Fatigue-resistant Hydrogel Coatings" in the session of Thin Films and Coatings Technology in KLA Instruments

[Aug 2022] [Paper] My co-authored paper "Sporopollenin-inspired Design and Synthesis of Robust Polymeric Materials" is accepted in Communications Chemistry.

[Aug 2022] [Service] I was invited to join the International Journal of Extreme Manufacturing as the Youth Editor. Link

[Aug 2022] [Paper] My first-authored paper "An extreme toughening mechanism for soft materials" is published in Soft Matter and selected as the Front Cover. Link.

[June 2022] [Service] I am thrilled to share my new role as Editorial Board Member with the journal Giant. Link

[June 2022] [Paper] My first-authored paper "Nanostructured artificial-muscle fibres" is published in Nature Nanotechnology. Link

[May 2022] [Service] I will co-organize a symposium, "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-Network Design", in the coming SES meeting at Texas A&M Engineering Experimental Station

[April 2022] [Position] I am thrilled to share that I have decided to join Michigan State University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, starting in Fall 2022.

[April 2022] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-network Design" in the Complex Fluids and Soft Matter (CFSM) Seminar Series. Link

[Feb 2022] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-Network Design" in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology.

[Feb 2022] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-Network Design" in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University at Buffalo.

[Feb 2022] [Paper] My first-authored paper on "Fracture and fatigue of entangled and unentangled polymer networks" is published in Extreme Mechanics letter. Here is the 50 days' free access.

[Feb 2022] [Service] I am promoted as an associated editor for the journal section Gels at Frontiers in Soft Matter.

[Jan 2022] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-Network Design" in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Dallas.

[Jan 2022] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Materials by Polymer-Network Design" in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University.

[Jan 2022] [Talk] Thank Prof. Aniruddh Vashisth's kind introduction. I gave a talk on "Extreme Soft Material by Polymer-Network Design"  in the course Advanced Composite:  Design and Manufacturing at the University of Washington.

[Dec 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Properties of Soft Material by Polymer-Network Design" by Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics at Drexel University.

[Dec 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme Soft Material by Design" by Department of Materials Science and Engineering at National University of Singapore.

[Dec 2021] [Talk] Thank Prof. Tal Cohen's invitation! I gave a talk on "Extreme Properties of Soft Material by Polymer-Network Design" in her group at MIT.

[Dec 2021] [Paper] My co-authored paper "Bioinspired 2D Isotropically Fatigue-resistant Hydrogels " is published in Advanced Materials.

[Oct 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Fracture and fatigue of ideal polymer networks" by MRSECs of Princeton University and University of Delaware. Link

[Oct 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Inflatable robots in health care" by MIT HORIZON. Link

[Sep 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Extreme properties of soft materials by network design" by Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.

[Aug 2021] [Paper] My co-authored paper "A soft neuroprosthetic hand providing simultaneous myoelectric control and tactile feedback" is published in Nature Biomedical Engineering. Video

[Aug 2021] [Service] I am invited to chair the session on "Physics of biopolymers and bioinspired materials" in Virtual Polymer Physics Symposium 2021 supported by APS. Link

[July 2021] [Paper] My first-authored paper "Fracture and fatigue of ideal polymer network " is online in Extreme Mechanics Letters.

[June 2021] [Paper] My co-authored paper "Anisotropically fatigue-resistant hydrogels" is published in Advanced Materials.

[May 2021] [Paper] My first-authored paper "Stretchable anti-fogging tapes for diverse transparent materials" is accepted by Advanced Functional Materials.

[May 2021] [Talk] I am humbled and honored to got the chance to present our recent projects on fracture and fatigue of polymer networks in the Virtual IUTAM SYMPOSIUM. Video

[April 2021] [Paper] My co-authored paper "Magnetic Living Hydrogels for Intestinal Localization, Retention, and Diagnosis" is published in Advanced Functional Materials.

[April 2021] [Press] My co-lead work on the design of lobster-inspired fatigue-resistant hydrogels is featured by Matter Cover, MIT News, and Nature Highlights.

[April 2021] [Paper] My co-first authored paper "Strong fatigue-resistant nanofibrous hydrogels inspired by lobster underbelly" is published in Matter

[April 2021] [Paper] My co-authored review paper "Soft materials by design: unconventional polymer networks give extreme properties" is published in Chemical Reviews.

[Feb 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Design, characterization, and manufacturing of soft materials towards the convergence of human and environment", Mechanical Engineering at University of Houston.

[Jan 2021] [Talk] Invited talk "Bioinspired design of fatigue-resistant hydrogels towards hydrogel adhesions", EASF forum. Video

[Dec 2020] [Talk] Thank Prof. Chenfeng Ke's invitation! I gave a talk on the design of fatigue-resistant hydrogel adhesions in his group at Dartmouth College.

[Dec 2020] [Service] It is my honor to chair the poster session of "Soft Materials and Biomaterials" at the 2020 MRS Fall Meeting.

[Nov 2020] [Paper] Our new paper "Fracture of polymer networks with topological defects" is published in Physical Review E.

[Nov 2020] [Service] Thank Prof. Jianfeng Zang's kind invitation. I will be the guest editor for the second issue of "Soft Materials and Systems" of Journal Polymers.

[July 2020] [Service] Thanks for the invitation from the Journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI. We are launching an open-access article collection on " Extreme Mechanics of Soft Active Materials for Soft Robotics". Thank Prof. Guoying Gu, Prof. Stephan Rudykh, and Prof. Ruobing Bai for your efforts to make this happen!

[July 2020] [Recognization] Thank Prof. Zheng Jia, Prof. Teng Li, and Prof. Zhigang Suo's kind invitation for leading the iMechanica journal club discussion in July 2020. Taking this opportunity, we summarize our and others' efforts on principles, experiments, and applications of fatigue-resistant hydrogels.

[June 2020] [Service] We are launching the Engineering and Applied Science Forum for Ph.D., Postdoc, and Young faculty (EASF).  If you are interested in giving a talk, please visit our website and fill the speaker form. EASF is a weekly webinar at 10 am (EST) every Sunday. Zoom ID: 95836152500. 

[April 2020] [Talk] Invited Talk "Towards hydrogel machines via the design, integration, and functionalization of tissue-like hydrogels", Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee.

[Feb 2020] [Paper] Our new paper "Fatigue-resistant hydrogel adhesion of hydrogels" is published in Nature Communications. This work is selected as the 2020 Top 50 Chemistry and Materials Sciences Articles.

[Feb 2020] [Talk] Invited Talk "Extreme properties of hydrogels for merging humans and machines", Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University.

Vibrant and Engaging Learning in Dynamics Class at MSU

Seminar talk at Dow in Midland, MI

Session Organization at SES2022, Texas A&M Engineering 

Invited Talk in CFSM Seminar Series

Summarized Research Mission in MRS Faculty Candidate

Our work Stretchable anti-fogging tape

MIT News featured our work Ingestible hydrogel device

Bloomberg News featured our work stretchable hydrogel electronics

MIT News featured our work Stretchable hydrogel electronics