Transducing forces through a viscoelastic gel

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In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of exerting forces on something inside Matrigel, with the question of whether viscoelastic gels can transduce forces. The setup of using small wells and optical observation to detect deformation is mentioned, along with the idea of using a PDMS substrate for easier deformation. The ultimate goal is to manipulate cells inside the Matrigel.
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Hi,

I'm working with Matrigel, a biological hydrogel so to say, and would like to exert forces on something inside the gel. I was wondering, if in general, viscoelastic gels can transduce forces.

Consider the following setup:
Matrigel in small wells (1 or 2 mm in diameter), a force is exerted on this wells (causing them to deform), can something inside the well "feel" this force?

Thanks!
 
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Necessarily inside the well? On exterior, optical deformation could be observed, pressure varying polarization of the plastic. Individual strain gauges would be expensive on a 96-well plate. Optically observe the variation in level if the force displaces the gel against gravity.
 
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Doug Huffman said:
Necessarily inside the well? On exterior, optical deformation could be observed, pressure varying polarization of the plastic. Individual strain gauges would be expensive on a 96-well plate. Optically observe the variation in level if the force displaces the gel against gravity.
I was thinking of making wells in a PDMS substrate for example, which would be more easy to deform than a well plate. And it's cells inside the matrigel (they don't grow anywhere else) that I'd like to manipulate.
 

1. What is a viscoelastic gel?

A viscoelastic gel is a type of material that exhibits both viscous (fluid-like) and elastic (solid-like) properties. This means that it can deform and flow like a liquid, but also return to its original shape like a solid.

2. How do viscoelastic gels transduce forces?

Viscoelastic gels transduce forces by storing and releasing energy in response to applied forces. When a force is applied, the gel deforms and stores energy in its elastic components. As the force is released, the energy is released and the gel returns to its original shape.

3. What are some applications of transducing forces through viscoelastic gels?

Viscoelastic gels have a wide range of applications, including in medical devices, soft robotics, and energy harvesting. They are also used in materials that need to withstand repeated stress, such as in shoe soles or shock-absorbing materials.

4. Can viscoelastic gels be tailored for specific force transduction purposes?

Yes, the properties of viscoelastic gels can be tailored to suit specific force transduction needs. This can be achieved by adjusting the composition, structure, and cross-linking of the gel to control its mechanical properties.

5. How does the structure of a viscoelastic gel affect its force transduction capabilities?

The structure of a viscoelastic gel, such as the arrangement of its polymer chains and cross-linking points, can greatly affect its force transduction capabilities. A more densely cross-linked gel will have a higher stiffness and be able to transduce larger forces, while a more loosely cross-linked gel will be able to deform more easily and transduce smaller forces.

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