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Soft active materials (SAM) are man-made polymers or nature-built living tissues where mechanical deformation and failure are coupled with chemical or/and electromagnetic responses. Examples include dielectric elastomers; shape-memory polymers; stimuli-responsive gels; heart; remodeling blood vessels; growing aneurysms; muscles etc. Applications of soft active materials vary from soft actuators and sensors to controlled drug delivery and functional self-assembly. The prospective applications include artificial muscles/tissues and engineering-based medical treatments during cardiovascular and brain surgery. Understanding the electro-chemo-mechanical behavior of soft biological tissues is a great challenge on its own.

Diverse multidisciplinary studies of soft active materials are spread over the large number of journals, conferences, workshops targeting specific and, usually, narrow fields of applications. Such studies are sometimes recurring and/or missing new ideas because of the relative isolation of the scholars oriented towards various applications. The aim of our symposium is to gather people from various backgrounds and experience working on soft active materials in order to shape the discipline by exchanging and discussing the available experimental data and crystallizing the theoretical formulations. It will be attempted to equally present experimental and theoretical results as well as various applications.

Soft active materials are the main building blocks of life. Learning from nature it will possible to improve technologies and health care. Using engineering approach it will be possible to correct nature’s failures.