(678b) Modeling Liquid Crystalline Elastomers
AIChE Annual Meeting
Friday, November 13, 2009 - 8:55am to 9:20am
Liquid Crystalline Elastomers (LCEs) combine the elastic properties of conventional rubbers with the optical properties of Liquid Crystals. This coupling gives rise to unique experimental behaviors, including the ability to deform significantly at the polydomain-monodomain transition, a phenomenon which can lead to development of applications that include actuators or artificial muscles. Theoretical and computational studies of LCEs have been limited and are still in their early stages. We have developed a hierarchical modeling approach that includes both molecular and mesoscale representations of LCEs. At the molecular level, we offer a description of the LCE in terms of crosslinked network of ellipsoidal particles. At the mesoscale level, we propose a stochastic solution of a continuum Hamiltonian that incorporates fluctuations and enables a description of LCEs over macroscopic length scales. Taken together, these two models are shown to provide a quantitative description of the main features observed in the soft elasticity of LCEs.