Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Materials scientists learn how to make liquid crystal shape-shift

Researchers also 3D-printed structures made of two layers of LCE with different properties and showed that this gave the material even more degrees of freedom to actuate. Researchers also printed lattice structures with the material, which could be used in medical applications.

CREDIT
University of California San Diego
Researchers also 3D-printed structures made of two layers of LCE with different properties and showed that this gave the material even more degrees of freedom to actuate. Researchers also printed lattice structures with the material, which could be used in medical applications. CREDIT University of California San Diego

Abstract:
A new 3D-printing method will make it easier to manufacture and control the shape of soft robots, artificial muscles and wearable devices. Researchers at UC San Diego show that by controlling the printing temperature of liquid crystal elastomer, or LCE, they can control the material's degree of stiffness and ability to contract--also known as degree of actuation. What's more, they are able to change the stiffness of different areas in the same material by exposing it to heat.



Researchers 3D-printed structures made of two layers of LCE with different properties and showed that this gave the material even more degrees of freedom to actuate. Researchers also printed lattice structures with the material, which could be used in medical applications.

CREDIT University of California San Diego

Materials scientists learn how to make liquid crystal shape-shift

San Diego, CA | Posted on September 25th, 2020

As a proof of concept, the researchers 3D-printed in a single print, with a single ink, structures whose stiffness and actuation varies by orders of magnitude, from zero to 30 percent. For example, one area of the LCE structure can contract like muscles; and another can be flexible, like tendons. The breakthrough was possible because the team studied LCE closely to better understand its material properties.

The team, led by Shengqiang Cai, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, details their work in the Sept. 25 issue of Science Advances.

Researchers were inspired to create this material with different degrees of actuation by examples in biology and nature. In addition to the combination of muscle and tendon, researchers took cues from the beak of the squid, which is extremely stiff at the tip but much softer and malleable where it is connected to the mouth of the squid.

"3D-printing is a great tool to make so many different things--and it's even better now that we can print structures that can contract and stiffen as desired under a certain stimuli, in this case, heat," said Zijun Wang, the paper's first author and a Ph.D. student in Cai's research group.

Understanding material properties

To understand how to tune the material properties of LCE, researchers first studied the material very closely. They determined that printed LCE filament is made of a shell and a core. While the shell cools off quickly after printing, becoming stiffer, the core cools more slowly, remaining more malleable.

As a result, researchers were able to determine how to vary several parameters in the printing process, especially temperature, to tune the mechanical properties of LCE. In a nutshell, the higher the printing temperature, the more flexible and malleable the material. While the preparation of the LCE ink takes a few days, the actual 3D print can be done in just 1 to 2 hours, depending on the geometry of the structure being printed.

"Based on the relationship between the properties of LCE filament and printing parameters, it's easy to construct structures with graded material properties," said Cai.

Varying temperature to 3D-printing structures

For example, researchers printed an LCE disk at 40 degrees C (104 F) and heated it up to 90 degrees C (194 F) in hot water. The disk deformed into a conical shape. But an LCE disk composed of areas that are printed at different temperatures (40, then 80 then 120 degrees Celsius, for example), deformed in a completely different shape when heated up.

Researchers also 3D-printed structures made of two layers of LCE with different properties and showed that this gave the material even more degrees of freedom to actuate. Researchers also printed lattice structures with the material, which could be used in medical applications.

Finally, as a proof of concept, the team 3D printed an LCE tube that they had tuned during 3D printing and showed that it could adhere to a rigid glass plate much longer when actuated at high temperatures, about 94 C (201 F), than a regular LCE tube with homogenous properties. This could lead to the manufacture of better robotic feet and grippers.

The actuation of the material could be activated not just in hot water but also by infusing LCE with heat-sensitive particles or particles that absorb light and convert it to heat--anything from black ink powder to graphene. Another mechanism would be to 3D print the structures with electric wires that generate heat embedded in LCE.

Next steps include finding a way to tune the material's properties more precisely and efficiently. Researchers also are working on modifying the ink so the printed structures can be self-repairable, reprogrammable, and recyclable.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ioana Patringenaru

619-253-4474

@UCSanDiego

Copyright © University of California, San Diego

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

‘Life-like’ lasers can self-organise, adapt their structure, and cooperate July 15th, 2022

Photoinduced large polaron transport and dynamics in organic-inorganic hybrid lead halide perovskite with terahertz probes July 8th, 2022

Newly developed technique to improve quantum dots color conversion performance: Researchers created perovskite quantum dot microarrays to achieve better results in full-color light-emitting devices and expand potential applications June 10th, 2022

Robotics

CEA-Leti Barn-Owl Inspired, Object-Localization System Uses Up to ‘5 Orders of Magnitude’ Less Energy than Existing Technology: Paper in Nature Communications Describes Neuromorphic Computing Device With ‘Virtually No Power Consumption’ When Idle, Thanks to On-Chip Non-Volatile M July 8th, 2022

Nanostructured fibers can impersonate human muscles June 3rd, 2022

Shape memory in hierarchical networks – the astonishing property that allows manipulation of morphing materials with micro scale resolutions February 25th, 2022

3D & 4D printing/Additive-manufacturing

University of Houston research allows for 3D printing of 'organic electronics' Micro-scale organic electronics for use in bioelectronics via multiphoton 3D printers June 24th, 2022

UBCO researchers change the game when it comes to activity tracking: Flexible, highly sensitive motion device created by extrusion printing June 17th, 2022

Videos/Movies

Scientists prepare for the world’s smallest race: Nanocar Race II March 18th, 2022

Visualizing the invisible: New fluorescent DNA label reveals nanoscopic cancer features March 4th, 2022

OCSiAl receives the green light for Luxembourg graphene nanotube facility project to power the next generation of electric vehicles in Europe March 4th, 2022

Self-repairing Materials

Self-driving microrobots December 10th, 2019

Disruptive by Design: Nano Now February 1st, 2019

Fluid-inspired material self-heals before your eyes: Coating for metals rapidly heals over scratches and scrapes to prevent corrosion January 30th, 2019

Manufacturing microspheres: Technique mass-produces uniform, encapsulated particles for pharmaceuticals, many other uses October 6th, 2016

Possible Futures

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

At the water’s edge: Self-assembling 2D materials at a liquid–liquid interface: Scientists find a simple way to produce heterolayer coordination nanosheets, expanding the diversity of 2D materials July 22nd, 2022

Discoveries

HKU physicists found signatures of highly entangled quantum matter July 22nd, 2022

How different cancer cells respond to drug-delivering nanoparticles: The findings of a large-scale screen could help researchers design nanoparticles that target specific types of cancer July 22nd, 2022

The best semiconductor of them all? Researchers have found a material that can perform much better than silicon. The next step is finding practical and economic ways to make it July 22nd, 2022

Buckyballs on gold are less exotic than graphene July 22nd, 2022

Announcements

Quantum computer works with more than zero and one: Quantum digits unlock more computational power with fewer quantum particles July 22nd, 2022

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

First electric nanomotor made from DNA material: Synthetic rotary motors at the nanoscale perform mechanical work July 22nd, 2022

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Buckyballs on gold are less exotic than graphene July 22nd, 2022

Quantum computer works with more than zero and one: Quantum digits unlock more computational power with fewer quantum particles July 22nd, 2022

Biology’s hardest working pigments and ‘MOFs’ might just save the climate: A range of processes that currently depend on fossil fuels but are really hard to electrify will depend on the development of genuinely clean fuels, and for that to happen, much more efficient catalysts wi July 22nd, 2022

Generating power where seawater and river water meet July 22nd, 2022

Printing/Lithography/Inkjet/Inks/Bio-printing/Dyes

Newly developed technique to improve quantum dots color conversion performance: Researchers created perovskite quantum dot microarrays to achieve better results in full-color light-emitting devices and expand potential applications June 10th, 2022

On-Chip Photodetection: Two-dimensional material heterojunctions hetero-integration May 13th, 2022

With a zap of light, system switches objects' colors and patterns: "Programmable matter" technique could enable product designers to churn out prototypes with ease May 6th, 2021

New 3D-Bioprinter + Bioink Use Living Cells Straight From Culture Plate: Cell models mimicking natural tissue topography herald new era for biomedical research April 13th, 2021

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project