Nanostructured Composites Based on Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers
Author(s)Cresta, Vanessa; Zalar, Boštjan; Domenici, Valentina; Romano, Giuseppe; Kolpak, Alexie M.
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Liquid-crystalline elastomers (LCEs) are the object of many research investigations due to their reversible and controllable shape deformations, and their high potential for use in the field of soft robots and artificial muscles. This review focuses on recent studies about polymer composites based on LCEs and nanomaterials having different chemistry and morphology, with the aim of instilling new physical properties into LCEs. The synthesis, physico-chemical characterization, actuation properties, and applications of LCE-based composites reported in the literature are reviewed. Several cases are discussed: (1) the addition of various carbon nanomaterials to LCEs, from carbon black to carbon nanotubes, to the recent attempts to include graphene layers to enhance the thermo-mechanic properties of LCEs; (2) the use of various types of nanoparticles, such as ferroelectric ceramics, gold nanoparticles, conductive molybdenum-oxide nanowires, and magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles, to induce electro-actuation, magnetic-actuation, or photo-actuation into the LCE-based composites; (3) the deposition on LCE surfaces of thin layers of conductive materials (i.e., conductive polymers and gold nanolayers) to produce bending actuation by applying on/off voltage cycles or surface-wrinkling phenomena in view of tunable optical applications. Some future perspectives of this field of soft materials conclude the review. Keywords: liquid-crystal polymers; bilayers; composites; liquid single-crystal elastomers; actuators; artificial muscles; orientational order; NMR; nanoparticles; nanomaterials; photo-actuation; electro-actuation; thermal actuation
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Cresta, Vanessa et al. "Nanostructured Composites Based on Liquid-Crystalline Elastomers." Polymers 10, 7 (July 2018): 773 © 2018 The Authors
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