Robin Selinger, Kent State
Liquid crystal elastomers combine the orientational order of liquid crystals with the elasticity of polymers. They flex under stimuli such as heat or light, acting as artificial muscles and morphing into complex shapes. Molecular orientation of the liquid crystal defines the local strain axis, and can be patterned to induce a programmed shape transformation, via 3D printing or by forming between patterned surfaces. We model these shape transformations using finite element elastodynamics, looking at materials that self-fold, a process known as auto-origami. We also investigate a polymer film that oscillates spontaneously via directional waves, driven entirely by UV light [ 1]. Our simulations demonstrate the mechanism that produces wave motion, with a feedback loop driven by self-shadowing. Potential applications include autonomous light-driven locomotion and self-cleaning surfaces.
Work supported by NSF-DMR 1409658 and NSF-CMMI 1436565. [l] AH Gelebart, DJ Mulder, M Varga, A Konya, G Vantomme, EW Meijer, RLB Selinger and DJ. Broer, Nature 546, 632 (2017).
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