University of Cambridge > > Engineering - Mechanics and Materials Seminar Series > EML webinar Liquid crystal elastomers

EML webinar Liquid crystal elastomers

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New materials and new applications of materials enable the drive to create the world that never was. This talk focusses on the emerging class of responsive materials that promise new possibilities in soft robotics, and in particular the interesting questions in mechanics that their development and application raise. Of particular interest are instabilities in both the material and structure, and the exploitation of these instabilities for applications. We use liquid crystal elastomers as a case study. These are rubbery solids (elastomers) with liquid crystal mesogens incorporated into their polymer chains. They display an isotropic to nematic phase transformation accompanied by a large spontaneous deformation. This in turn leads to rich variety of phenomena including ultra-soft behavior, stripe domains, shape-morphing etc. Further, when made as slender structures, the structural instability of slender structures and the material instabilities of liquid crystal elastomers combine and compete in interesting ways. Finally, these materials can be used to couple mechanical response to other stimuli like light or magnetic field. The talk will describe various questions of mechanics that arise in the study of these materials and their impact on application.

This talk is part of the Engineering - Mechanics and Materials Seminar Series series.

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