Self-sustained actuation from heat dissipation in liquid crystal polymer networks

Ghislaine Vantomme, Anne Helene Gelebart, Dirk Jan Broer, E. W. Meijer

Published: 01/07/2018


Liquid crystal polymer networks (LCNs) lead the research geared toward macroscopic motion of materials. These actuators are molecularly programed to adapt their shape in response to external stimuli. Non‐photo‐responsive thin films of LCNs covered with heat absorbers (e.g., graphene or ink) are shown to continuously oscillate when exposed to light. The motion is governed by the heat dissipated at the film surface and the anisotropic thermal deformation of the network. The influence of the LC molecular alignment, the film thickness, and the LC matrix on the macroscopic motion is analyzed to probe the limits of the system. The insights gained from these experiments provide not only guidelines to create actuators by photo‐thermal or pure photo‐effects but also a simple method to generate mechanical oscillators for soft robotics and automated systems. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2018 56 , 1331–1336

Full Access Link: Journal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry