Advanced Functional Materials

Cover image for Vol. 26 Issue 6

20_24b/2010Microactuators: Control of the Properties of Micrometer Sized Actuators from Liquid Crystalline Elastomers Prepared in a Microfluidic Setup (Adv. Funct. Mater. 24/2010)

In this article new results on the preparation of monodisperse particles from a liquid crystalline elastomer in a microfluidic setup are presnted. For this, droplets from a liquid crystalline monomer are prepared in a microfluidic device and polymerized while they are flowing inside a microtube. The parti­cles obtained by this method possess an internal orientation, which gives them actuating properties. When they are heated into the isotropic phase of the liquid crystalline material they show a reversible change in shape whereby they change their length in one direction by almost 100%. It is shown how the variation of experimental parameters during their synthesis impacts the properties of these micro-actuators. Influence over their primal shape, the strength of their shape changing properties, their size, and their mechanical properties is demontrated. From the systematic variation of experimental parameters a deep understanding of the complex processes taking place in a flowing droplet of a liquid crystalline material is obtainted. Additionally NMR analysis and swelling experiments on these actuating materials are provided.

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