Europhys. Lett., 64 (5) , pp. 654-660 (2003)
Nematic elastomers with aligned carbon nanotubes: New electromechanical actuatorsS. Courty, J. Mine, A. R. Tajbakhsh and E. M. Terentjev
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge - Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK
(Received 10 September 2003; accepted in final form 20 October 2003)
We demonstrate, for the first time, the large electromechanical response in nematic liquid-crystalline elastomers filled with a very low ( ) concentration of carbon nanotubes, aligned along the nematic director at preparation. The nanotubes create a very large effective dielectric anisotropy of the composite. Their local field-induced torque is transmitted to the rubber elastic network and is registered as the exerted uniaxial stress of order kPa in response to a constant field of order MV/m. We investigate the dependence of the effect on field strength, nanotube concentration and reproducibility under multiple field-on and -off cycles. The results indicate the potential of the nanotube-nematic elastomer composites as electrically driven actuators.
61.30.-v - Liquid crystals.
61.41.+e - Polymers, elastomers, and plastics.
85.35.Kt - Nanotube devices.
© EDP Sciences 2003