Liquid crystal elastomers are rubbery solids with liquid crystal mesogens incorporated into their polymer chains. These solids combine the entropic elasticity of rubber with the orientational phase transitions of liquid crystals. The deformation and orientational order are coupled, giving rise to a rich variety of phenomena including ultra-soft mechanical behavior, stripe domains and spontaneous shape-morphing. When made as slender structures, the structural instability of slender structures and the material instabilities of liquid crystal elastomers combine and compete in interesting ways. They also can be a platform for coupling mechanical deformation to light and other stimuli. This talk will provide an introduction to these materials, explain their unusual mechanics and physics, and illustrate these with examples.
Recording of Talk: http://www.kaltura.com/tiny/0tv0x