CUED Publications database

Elasticity of Polydomain Liquid Crystal Elastomers

Biggins, JS and Warner, M and Bhattacharya, K Elasticity of Polydomain Liquid Crystal Elastomers. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 2012 vol 60 no 4 pages 573-590. (Unpublished)

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We model polydomain liquid-crystal elastomers by extending the neo-classical soft and semi-soft free energies used successfully to describe monodomain samples. We show that there is a significant difference between polydomains cross-linked in homogeneous high symmetry states then cooled to low symmetry polydomain states and those cross-linked directly in the low symmetry polydomain state. For example, elastomers cross-linked in the isotropic state then cooled to a nematic polydomain will, in the ideal limit, be perfectly soft, and with the introduction of non-ideality, will deform at very low stress until they are macroscopically aligned. The director patterns observed in them will be disordered, characteristic of combinations of random deformations, and not disclination patterns. We expect these samples to exhibit elasticity significantly softer than monodomain samples. Polydomains cross-linked in the nematic polydomain state will be mechanically harder and contain characteristic schlieren director patterns. The models we use for polydomain elastomers are spatially heterogeneous, so rather than solving them exactly we elucidate this behavior by bounding the energies using Taylor-like (compatible test strain fields) and Sachs (constant stress) limits extended to non-linear elasticity. Good agreement is found with experiments that reveal the supersoft response of some polydomains. We also analyze smectic polydomain elastomers and propose that polydomain SmC* elastomers cross-linked in the SmA monodomain state are promising candidates for low field electrical actuation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cond-mat.soft cond-mat.soft
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 20:28
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 02:09