Multicomponent, formulated mixtures form the essential products and precursors for many industries and technologies. Such materials must simultaneously perform a variety of chemical and physical tasks, significantly complicating their design and optimization. The scientific expertise required to understand and engineer these materials is spread across multiple academic disciplines, and is generally not taught in any coherent, conceptual fashion. Consequently, progress is piecemeal and disjointed, and often confined to a single industry, a single company, or even a single product.
Despite the scientific underpinning shared among these complex fluid products, no unified community of practice exists for people working with formulated materials. Consequently, efforts are duplicated, opportunities are lost, and innovation is stifled. Workers in one industry may not follow advances in another, be aware of academic research, know what is possible, or who to ask for guidance. In turn, academic researchers may not know or appreciate broad questions of shared importance to many fields, or how their research may impact innovative products or technologies.
We envision a center at UCSB focusing on the science and engineering of multicomponent, multifunctional soft materials. The center will focus on three main components:
Community, Research, and Training.