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

The National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos for the Spectacular First Crewed Flight of the New Shepard: Well-Tested Suborbital Tourist Rocket Soars to 63 Miles; Opens New Frontiers July 21st, 2021

Unconventional superconductor acts the part of a promising quantum computing platform: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. July 16th, 2021

Unlocking efficient light-energy conversion with stable coordination nanosheets: Scientists design a high-performance, self-powered, UV photodetector using 2D nanosheets that show record photocurrent stability under air exposure July 16th, 2021

The virus trap: Hollow nano-objects made of DNA could trap viruses and render them harmless July 16th, 2021

Primers with graphene nanotubes offer a new solution for electrostatic painting of automotive parts July 16th, 2021

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Removing the lead hazard from perovskite solar cells July 16th, 2021

Nanotech OLED electrode liberates 20% more light, could slash display power consumption: A five-nanometer-thick layer of silver and copper outperforms conventional indium tin oxide without adding cost June 29th, 2021

Use of perovskite will be a key feature of the next generation of electronic appliances: Nanomaterials of perovskite dispersed in hexane and irradiated by laser; light emission by these materials is intense thanks to resistance to surface defects March 12th, 2021

Videos/Movies

Scientists create rechargeable swimming microrobots using oil and water July 16th, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device: They discover a short-lived state that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computing devices July 16th, 2021

Sensors developed at URI can identify threats at the molecular level: More sensitive than a dog's nose and the sensors don't get tired May 21st, 2021

Robotics

CEA-Leti Introduces Plastic mmWave System for Applications Requiring Ultra-Low Latency and Ultra-High-Speed Connectivity: Low-Cost Gb/s Connectivity Overcomes Limits of Copper Wire and Optical Fiber For Automotive, Aeronautics, Telecom, Industry 4.0 and Healthcare Uses May 28th, 2021

Simple robots, smart algorithms April 30th, 2021

New brain-like computing device simulates human learning: Researchers conditioned device to learn by association, like Pavlov's dog April 30th, 2021

Kirigami-style fabrication may enable new 3D nanostructures April 2nd, 2021

Advancement creates nanosized, foldable robots March 19th, 2021

3D & 4D printing/Additive-manufacturing

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

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

The National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos for the Spectacular First Crewed Flight of the New Shepard: Well-Tested Suborbital Tourist Rocket Soars to 63 Miles; Opens New Frontiers July 21st, 2021

Scientists create rechargeable swimming microrobots using oil and water July 16th, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device: They discover a short-lived state that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computing devices July 16th, 2021

Researchers discover a new inorganic material with lowest thermal conductivity ever reported July 16th, 2021

Discoveries

Repairs using light signals: FAU research group develops smart microparticle that identifies defective parts in electrical appliances July 16th, 2021

Removing the lead hazard from perovskite solar cells July 16th, 2021

Scientists create rechargeable swimming microrobots using oil and water July 16th, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device: They discover a short-lived state that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computing devices July 16th, 2021

Announcements

The National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos for the Spectacular First Crewed Flight of the New Shepard: Well-Tested Suborbital Tourist Rocket Soars to 63 Miles; Opens New Frontiers July 21st, 2021

Scientists create rechargeable swimming microrobots using oil and water July 16th, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device: They discover a short-lived state that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computing devices July 16th, 2021

Researchers discover a new inorganic material with lowest thermal conductivity ever reported July 16th, 2021

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

RUDN University chemists obtained an unusual planar nickel complex exhibiting magnetic properties July 16th, 2021

Repairs using light signals: FAU research group develops smart microparticle that identifies defective parts in electrical appliances July 16th, 2021

Scientists create rechargeable swimming microrobots using oil and water July 16th, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device: They discover a short-lived state that could lead to faster and more energy-efficient computing devices July 16th, 2021

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

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

Weak force has strong impact on nanosheets: Rice lab finds van der Waals force can deform nanoscale silver for optics, catalytic use December 15th, 2020

InnovationLab and Heidelberg collaborate on industrial production of printed and organic sensors: Firms achieve volume and price breakthroughs in manufacture of printed sensors August 19th, 2020

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