, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 83-89
Date: 24 Jan 2008

Thermal diffusion and bending kinetics in nematic elastomer cantilever

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Vertically aligned monodomain nematic liquid-crystal elastomers contract when heated. If a temperature gradient is applied across the width of such a cantilever, inhomogeneous strain distribution leads to bending motion. We modelled the kinetics of thermally induced bending in the limit of a long thin strip and the predicted time variation of curvature agreed quantitatively with experimental data from samples with a range of critical indices and nematic-isotropic transition temperatures. We also deduced a value for the thermal diffusion coefficient of the elastomer.