Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol.55, No.5, 395-411, 2017
Liquid Crystal Elastomer Actuators: Synthesis, Alignment, and Applications
Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are a unique class of materials which combine rubber elasticity with the orientational order of liquid crystals. This combination can lead to materials with unique properties such as thermal actuation, anisotropic swelling, and soft elasticity. As such, LCEs are a promising class of materials for applications requiring stimulus response. These unique features and the recent developments of the LCE chemistry and processing will be discussed in this review. First, we emphasize several different synthetic pathways in conjunction with the alignment techniques utilized to obtain monodomain LCEs. We then identify the synthesis and alignment techniques used to synthesis LCE-based composites. Finally, we discuss how these materials are used as actuators and sensors. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.