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A Readily Programmable, Fully Reversible Shape Switching Material



Matthew McBride, Alina Martinez, Lewis M. Cox, Marvin Alim, Kimberly Childress, Michael Beiswinger, Maciej Podgorski, Brady Worrell, Jason Killgore, Christopher N. Bowman


Liquid crystalline elastomers (LCEs) enable large scale reversible shape changes in polymeric materials; however, they require intensive, irreversible programming approaches to facilitate controllable actuation. We have implemented photo-induced dynamic covalent chemistry (DCC) that chemically anneals the LCE towards an applied equilibrium only when and where the light- activated DCC is on. By using light as the stimulus that enables programming, the dynamic bond exchange is orthogonal to the LC phase behavior, enabling the LCE to be annealed in any LC phase or in the isotropic phase with various manifestations of this capability explored here. In a photopolymerizable LCE network, we report the synthesis, characterization, and exploitation of readily shape programmable DCC-functional LCEs to create predictable, complex and fully reversible shape changes, thus enabling the literal square peg to fit into a round hole.
Science Advances


McBride, M. , Martinez, A. , Cox, L. , Alim, M. , Childress, K. , Beiswinger, M. , Podgorski, M. , Worrell, B. , Killgore, J. and Bowman, C. (2018), A Readily Programmable, Fully Reversible Shape Switching Material, Science Advances, [online], (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created August 23, 2018, Updated October 12, 2021