Given by: Dr. Robin L. B. Selinger,
Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Manning Hall room 201
Refreshments served beginning at 3:30pm in Manning Hall room 222
Liquid crystal elastomers, sometimes called "artificial muscles," stretch and contract
reversibly by several hundred percent when undergoing transitions between orientationally
ordered and disordered phases. Shape change may be driven by temperature, light, stress,
or a variety of other stimuli, and these materials are candidates for engineering
applications, e.g. as actuators, pumps, sensors, and optical components.
To model liquid crystal elastomers at the device level, we have developed a finite
element simulation algorithm based on an energy functional that couples elastic strain
with local mesogenic order. Using this method, we propose and simulate the performance
of several elastomer-based devices, ranging from peristaltic pumps to actuators to
We have also modeled the evolution of microstructure in the soft elastic response
of these materials. The goal of this simulation approach is to bridge the gap from
fundamental soft condensed matter theory to materials engineering and product design.
Supported by NSF-DMR-0605889.