Localised Actuation in Composites Containing Carbon Nanotubes and Liquid Crystalline Elastomers



A liquid crystalline elastomer–carbon nanotube (LCE-CNT) composite displays a reversible shape change property in response to light. The development of some systems such as tactile devices requires localised actuation of this material. A method is reported that combines mechanical stretching and thermal crosslinking of an LCE-CNT for creating sufficiently well-aligned liquid crystal units to produce localised actuation. The method demonstrates that it is feasible to optically drive a LCE-CNT film within a localised area, since only the walls of the stretched parts of the film contain aligned LC domains.