This project focuses on the preparation and chemical/physical characterization of a new kind of composite materials, specifically the composites of liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs) and electrically active nanoparticles.
These materials should retain their original mesomorphic behaviour of pure monodomain liquid crystalline elastomers and in addition exhibit electrical response due to the presence of nanoparticles embedded in the polymer network.
We shall seek for the following properties:
- The composite should elongate/compress under the effect of external electric field; LCEs known so far can only change their shape thermally. Concurrently the included ferroelectric and dielectric nanoparticles of various shapes and anisotropic properties should reorient. It is the coupling between the orientational order of the particles and the orientation order of polymer segments that should lead to electromechanical response. The orientational redistribution of nanoparticles should determine the elongation of the elastomer and consequently the change in the composites shape.
- The composite should change its electrical properties (dielectric constant, permittivity, and/or spontaneous polarization) when exposed to external mechanical strain. A simple elongation should result in the reorientation of nanoparticles and thus induce anisotropic electrical properties. These new composites are expected to carry strong potential for technological and biomedical applications. New synthetic routes preferring high viscosity conditions will be explored.
A significant part of the activities within the project will be dedicated to characterization of newly synthesized materials by spectroscopic techniques, in particular with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.
Both the organic and inorganic constituents will be investigated by selecting appropriate magnetically active nuclei, e.g. Ti-47, Ti-47, Sr-87 for the inorganic part and C-13, H-1, and preferentially H-2 for the organic part.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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