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Polymers 2012, 4(1), 316-340; doi:10.3390/polym4010316
Review

Nanoparticle-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Composites

1,2
, 1
 and 1,*
Received: 30 November 2011; in revised form: 10 January 2012 / Accepted: 14 January 2012 / Published: 30 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystalline Polymers)
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Abstract: Liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs) exhibit a number of remarkable physical effects, including a uniquely high-stroke reversible mechanical actuation triggered by external stimuli. Fundamentally, all such stimuli affect the degree of liquid crystalline order in the polymer chains cross-linked into an elastic network. Heat and the resulting thermal actuation act by promoting entropic disorder, as does the addition of solvents. Photo-isomerization is another mechanism of actuation, reducing the orientational order by diminishing the fraction of active rod-like mesogenic units, mostly studied for azobenzene derivatives incorporated into the LCE composition. Embedding nanoparticles provides a new, promising strategy to add functionality to LCEs and ultimately enhance their performance as sensors and actuators. The motivation for the combination of nanoparticles with LCEs is to provide better-controlled actuation stimuli, such as electric and magnetic fields, and broad-spectrum light, by selecting and configuring the appropriate nanoparticles in the LCE matrix. Here we give an overview of recent advances in this area with a focus on preparation, physical properties and actuation performance of the resultant nanocomposites.
Keywords: liquid crystal; elastomer; actuation; nanoparticles; nanotubes liquid crystal; elastomer; actuation; nanoparticles; nanotubes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ji, Y.; Marshall, J.E.; Terentjev, E.M. Nanoparticle-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Composites. Polymers 2012, 4, 316-340.

AMA Style

Ji Y, Marshall JE, Terentjev EM. Nanoparticle-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Composites. Polymers. 2012; 4(1):316-340.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ji, Yan; Marshall, Jean E.; Terentjev, Eugene M. 2012. "Nanoparticle-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Composites." Polymers 4, no. 1: 316-340.


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