Liquid crystal elastomer coatings with programmed response of surface profile

Liquid crystal elastomer coatings with programmed response of surface profile Stimuli-responsive liquid crystal elastomers with molecular orientation coupled to rubber-like elasticity show a great potential as elements in soft robotics, sensing, and transport systems. The orientational order defines their mechanical response to external stimuli, such as thermally activated muscle-like contraction. Here we demonstrate a dynamic thermal control of the surface topography of an elastomer prepared as a coating with a pattern of in-plane molecular orientation. The inscribed pattern determines whether the coating develops elevations, depressions, or in-plane deformations when the temperature changes. The deterministic dependence of the out-of-plane dynamic profile on the in-plane orientation is explained by activation forces. These forces are caused by stretching-contraction of the polymer networks and by spatially varying molecular orientation. The activation force concept brings the responsive liquid crystal elastomers into the domain of active matter. The demonstrated relationship can be used to design coatings with functionalities that mimic biological tissues such as skin. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nature Communications Springer Journals

Liquid crystal elastomer coatings with programmed response of surface profile

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Publisher
Nature Publishing Group UK
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by The Author(s)
Subject
Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, multidisciplinary
eISSN
2041-1723
D.O.I.
10.1038/s41467-018-02895-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Stimuli-responsive liquid crystal elastomers with molecular orientation coupled to rubber-like elasticity show a great potential as elements in soft robotics, sensing, and transport systems. The orientational order defines their mechanical response to external stimuli, such as thermally activated muscle-like contraction. Here we demonstrate a dynamic thermal control of the surface topography of an elastomer prepared as a coating with a pattern of in-plane molecular orientation. The inscribed pattern determines whether the coating develops elevations, depressions, or in-plane deformations when the temperature changes. The deterministic dependence of the out-of-plane dynamic profile on the in-plane orientation is explained by activation forces. These forces are caused by stretching-contraction of the polymer networks and by spatially varying molecular orientation. The activation force concept brings the responsive liquid crystal elastomers into the domain of active matter. The demonstrated relationship can be used to design coatings with functionalities that mimic biological tissues such as skin.

Journal

Nature CommunicationsSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 31, 2018

References

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