Mechanics of Active Soft Materials: Experiments, Theory, Numerics, and Applications

          1-5 July 2024

Active soft materials are a class of smart materials whose physical properties can be controlled by external stimuli such as temperature, pH, light, electric, or magnetic fields. Several active soft materials and their respective stimuli are at the forefront of materials science research today.

Thanks to their unique properties, active soft materials can be applied in numerous fields, from soft robotics to medical and pharmacology. Their potential in these fields is further promoted by the continuous advancements in additive manufacturing technologies, that ensure freeform production of customized parts using active materials, improving the so-called 4D printing.

To further accelerate these materials and related technologies towards widespread adoption, a throughout understanding and prediction of their complex behavior is of utmost importance. This will allow not only to accelerate the design of new types of materials, but also to optimize their behavior depending on application needs. In this framework, cross-disciplinary expertise should be tackled, hence the emerging need for a new generation of scientists capable of combining fundamental concepts from different disciplines.

The proposed school aims at creating a bridge between mechanics, chemistry, and physics to educate future scientists in the novel and fast-growing scientific framework of active soft matter. Particularly, lectures will introduce the participants to fundamental notions of solid, computational, ad experimental mechanics for these materials, also tackling recent and underdeveloped aspects related to the use of artificial intelligence and to fracture issues. The participants will be then introduced to the most used representative classes of materials and to numerous innovative application fields.

Hands-on sections are scheduled from day one to day four. The first day, Directors will assign a specific topic to each group into which the participants will be divided. During these practical sessions, participants will be able to carry out projects and physical activities related to the topics explained during the lectures. At the end of the School, the teams will make a pitch and the best one will be awarded.

Also, participants can show and discuss their research activities by dedicated poster sessions; in particular, awards will be assigned at the end of the school for the best poster.

In addition, participants enrolled in the PhD program “Design, Modeling and Simulation in Engineering” at the University of Pavia will gain 2 CFU from attending the Summer School.

Moreover, it will be possible for attendees to submit a contribution to the Special Issue “Mechanics, manufacturing, and applications of active soft materials and structures” to be published on the Springer journal Mechanics of Soft Materials. More Info at

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A beautiful location

Lake Como School of Advanced studies is located c/o Fondazione Alessandro Volta in the beautiful setting of Villa del Grumello, in Como, Italy

Venue & Accommodation

The Lake Como School of Advanced Studies is an international research facility. We run fellowships, short term programmes on a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects, that share a common focus on complex systems.