Structure of nematic liquid crystalline elastomers under uniaxial deformation

  • Zhang F
  • Heiney P
  • Srinivasan A
 et al. 
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We have used in situ x-ray diffraction and calorimetry to study liquid crystalline elastomers prepared using a one-step photopolymerization method. We used suspended weights to stretch free-standing crystalline elastomer films. With the mechanical stress parallel to the initial director, we observed a gradual nematic to isotropic transition with increasing temperature. The thermal evolution of the nematic order parameter on cooling, together with the observation of isotropic-nematic coexistence over a broad temperature range, suggests that the heterogeneity in the samples introduces a distribution of transition temperatures. With the mechanical stress perpendicular to the initial director, we observed both uniform director rotation and stripe formation, depending on the details of sample preparation.

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  • FAN ZHANGKungliga Tekniska Högskolan

  • Paul A. Heiney

  • Amritha Srinivasan

  • Jawad Naciri

  • Banahalli Ratna

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