Localized soft elasticity in liquid crystal elastomers (POSTPRINT)
AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate Wright Patterson Air Force Base United States
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Synthetic approaches to prepare designer materials that localize deformation, by combining rigidity and compliance in a single material, have been widely sought. Bottom-up approaches, such as the self-organization of liquid crystals, offer potential advantages over topdown patterning methods such as photolithographic control of crosslink density, relating to the ease of preparation and fidelity of resolution. Here, we report on the directed self-assembly of materials with spatial and hierarchical variation in mechanical anisotropy. The highly nonlinear mechanical properties of the liquid crystalline elastomers examined here enables strain to be locally reduced 15-fold without introducing compositional variation or other heterogeneities. Each domain 0.01mm2 exhibits anisotropic nonlinear response to load based on the alignment of the molecular orientation with the loading axis. Accordingly, we design monoliths that localize deformation in uniaxial and biaxial tension, shear, bending and crack propagation, and subsequently demonstrate substrates for globally deformable yet locally stiff electronics.