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Physics Colloquium - Friday, Oct. 31st, 2008, 4:00 P.M.
E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200
Robin Selinger - Liquid Crystal Institute, Kent State University
Modeling Liquid Crystal Elastomers: Actuators, Pumps, and Robots
Liquid crystal elastomers, sometimes called "artificial muscles," combine
the elastic properties of rubber with the molecular order properties of
liquid crystals. These soft actuators undergo strains of several hundred
percent in response to changes in temperature, illumination, or applied
fields. We model the shape-change dynamics of these fascinating materials
and explore designs for devices such as peristaltic pumps and
self-propelled soft robots. We also present simulation studies of soft
elastic response and microstructural evolution under applied strain. The
long-term goal of this work is to build a bridge between basic soft matter
theory and practical materials engineering/device design. Work supported
by the US National Science Foundation DMR-0605889.