Gas-pressure molding-based fabrication of smart actuators from nematic liquid-crystalline elastomer

Núria Torras, Jean E. Marshall, Kirill E. Zinoviev, Carlos J. Camargo, Eugene M. Terentjev, Jaume Esteve

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5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. A nematic liquid-crystalline elastomer enriched with carbon nanotubes (LCE-CNT) is used to obtain an array of photosensitive actuators based on siloxane chemistry. By the combination of a molding technique together with the application of a controlled gas-pressure during the crosslinking process, it is possible to obtain well-aligned arrays of monodomain regions within a polydomain in a single step, creating rounded-shaped features. Localized optical actuation is demonstrated producing measured changes in height up to 120mm under illumination, which represent a contraction of about 13% of the features. Finite element modeling was used to tune the experimental conditions - pressure loading - according the size of the actuators, maximizing the vertical displacement reached under illumination. This scalable method overcomes previously reported techniques, broadening technological resources development of novel and customized optically driven actuators and devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1169
JournalMacromolecular Materials and Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Carbon nanotube
  • Liquid crystalline elastomer
  • Molding
  • Photo-thermal actuation
  • Pressure


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