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. 2015 Feb 27;347(6225):982-4.
doi: 10.1126/science.1261019.

Actuating Materials. Voxelated Liquid Crystal Elastomers

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Actuating Materials. Voxelated Liquid Crystal Elastomers

Taylor H Ware et al. Science. .
Free article

Abstract

Dynamic control of shape can bring multifunctionality to devices. Soft materials capable of programmable shape change require localized control of the magnitude and directionality of a mechanical response. We report the preparation of soft, ordered materials referred to as liquid crystal elastomers. The direction of molecular order, known as the director, is written within local volume elements (voxels) as small as 0.0005 cubic millimeters. Locally, the director controls the inherent mechanical response (55% strain) within the material. In monoliths with spatially patterned director, thermal or chemical stimuli transform flat sheets into three-dimensional objects through controlled bending and stretching. The programmable mechanical response of these materials could yield monolithic multifunctional devices or serve as reconfigurable substrates for flexible devices in aerospace, medicine, or consumer goods.

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