Emily Outen
09-015: Virginia Tech Professor to Speak on Developing Synthetic Materials

HAMPTON, Va. -- Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are touted as the basis for future artificial muscles. Virginia Tech professor Don Leo researches these complex, engineered materials that mimic human tissue and muscle.

"In the past two decades, scientists and engineers have been making significant progress in the development of materials that have properties that emulate natural materials," Leo says.

Leo's research focuses on a particular class of materials known as electroactive polymers that exhibit properties similar to natural muscle. He will speak on advances researchers are making in the development of these biologically-inspired materials and their future applications in an afternoon talk at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The lecture, entitled "Biologically-Inspired Materials: From Electroactive Polymers to Biomolecular Networks," will take place Tuesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center.

Media who wish to interview Leo at a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday should contact Emily Outen at 864-7022 or at emily.s.outen@nasa.gov by noon for credentials and entry to NASA Langley.

Leo will present the same lecture for the general public on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center on Settlers Landing Road in Hampton. The evening talk is free and no reservations are required.

Virginia Tech's College of Engineering ranks as one of the top 20 engineering schools in the United States. Leo, a faculty member of Virginia Tech since 1998, is a professor of mechanical engineering, the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and the Special Assistant to the Vice President for Energy Initiatives. His research interests are the synthesis, modeling and control of active material systems, with a focus in the field of electroactive polymers.

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