Composite Soft Materials in Separation Processes, Molecular Recognition and Delivery

A special issue of Solids (ISSN 2673-6497).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2023) | Viewed by 594

Special Issue Editors

Consiglio Nazionale delle Riceche (CNR), Istituto per la Tecnologia delle Membrane (ITM), Università della Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci Cubo 17/C, Rende, CS, Italy
Interests: membrane science and technology; crystallization—fundamentals and operations; water treatment processes; membranes materials—design and development; bioseparation and downstream processes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Consiglio Nazionale delle Riceche (CNR), Istituto per la Tecnologia delle Membrane (ITM), Università della Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci Cubo 17/C, Rende, CS, Italy
Interests: hydrogels; hybrid and smart materials; separation processes; protein crystallization; surface functionalization and coating; polymeric membranes; biomaterials.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soft materials represent today a class of versatile solid devices that have found application in different fields of research from biopharmaceutical, as controlled drug delivery systems and wound dressing, to engineering, as an innovative platform for molecular separation and biosensor, just to name a few. Thanks to their three-dimensional structure, these cross-linked polymers can easily incorporate in their network a multitude of tailoring molecules to obtain multifunctional composite materials designed to perform multiple and interlinked tasks. The incorporation of functional materials such as nanoparticles, carbon-based nanomaterials, liquid crystals into the polymeric network allows for creating smart hybrid multiresponsive materials able to respond to an external stimulus (temperature, pH, light, or electric stimulation). Moreover, the combination of smart hydrogels with other solid polymeric materials allows us to realize innovative composite systems with additional properties or to improve the performance of existing materials. However, in spite of the multitude of known applications of hydrogels, there are many more to discover.

Today the research aims at designing and developing new and innovative potential applications where hydrogels are key components of composite systems such as sensors, substrates for separation processes, and drug delivery devices. Hydrogels are also useful and promising tools in the context of biosensing and bioanalytical assay. Their hydrophilic three-dimensional polymeric network offers the possibility to accommodate more recognition elements extending the limited coverage of 2D surfaces and improving the immobilization capacity and accessibility of biomolecules. They can be used as immobilizing matrices, substrate coating, or even they can act as sensor or transducer platforms. As an example of the separation process, smart hydrogel used as a delivery vehicle for the controlled release of bioactive macromolecules can be used as a platform for the heterogeneous crystallization of protein thanks to the ability of these materials to confine and concentrate macromolecules in its porous structure.

This Special Issue of Solids aims to collect the recent advances and future perspectives in the preparation and characterization of composites and soft materials and their potential application in several and multidisciplinary research areas. Covered topics of interest include, but are not limited to, composites and soft materials for:

  • advanced separation process;
  • crystallization of organic materials and biomolecules;
  • smart hybrid systems;
  • biosensing;
  • stimuli-responsive devices;
  • molecular delivery;
  • hydrogels in new processing technologies.

Dr. Gianluca Di Profio
Dr. Elvira Pantuso
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Solids is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • hydrogels
  • separation processes
  • protein crystallization
  • composite polymeric materials
  • cross-linked soft materials
  • surface functionalization
  • stimuli responsive hydrogels
  • drug delivery
  • composite materials
  • thin films and composite materials
  • biosensor

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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