As a result of an ongoing project of cooperation between the University of Pisa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of Boston (USA), in the frame of the project entitled:
«Energy Storage Devices and Actuators based on Composites of Liquid Crystal Elastomers»
I will present a contribution at the Materials Research Society meeting in Phoenix (USA) from the 28th to the 1st of April 2016.
This research is the result of a cooperation between the group of me (UNIPI) and Prof. Alexie Kolpak (MIT) and her collaborators (Dr. Giuseppe Romano).
The focus point of this research is the optimization of bilayered composites based on liquid crystalline elastomers and conductive layers, in order to understand the basic molecular features at the origin of the thermal-actuation of these bilayered systems. These composites can act as bending actuators and they have a high shape-response when either temperature is varied in a controlled way or low voltages are appplied. An important part of this research is represented by the simulations of the bilayers by finite element model and the calculations of main properties such as thermal, strain and stress 3D maps.
Other groups are actively involved in these studies, such as the group of Professor Bostjan Zalar at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana (Slovenia).