Liquid Crystalline Elastomers


  • Dr. Rudolf Zentel

    1. Institut für Organische Chemie, Universität Mainz, J.-J. Becher-Weg 18-20 D-6500 Mainz (FRG)
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    • (born 1953) studied chemistry at the University of Mainz, FRG, obtaining his Diploma in 1980 and his Ph.D. in 1983 after working with Professors G. Strobl and H. Ringsdorf. After this, he spent one year as apost-doctoral fellow at the University of Freiburg with Professor H.-.L. Cantow, and then returned to Mainz in 1984 to start work on “Liquid Crystalline Elastomers”. In April 1989 he finished his Habilitation and obtained the “Venia Legendi” in Organic Chemistry. Since July 1989 he has been at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose (USA) as a Visiting Scientist working on materialsfor optical data storage. He has published 27papers on various topics in polymer chemistry.


Today, material science is directed towards the development of multifunctional and oriented structures. One example of such supramolecular systems are liquid crystalline (LC) elastomers which combine the properties of LC phases (the combination of order and mobility) with rubber elasticity, one of the most typical polymer properties. Their most outstanding characteristic is their mechanical orientability; strains as small as 20% are enough to obtain a perfectly oriented LC monodomain. This orientability, if LC elastomers with chiral phases are used, leads, for example, to elastomers with chiral smectic C* phases which are likely to show piezo-electric behavior.