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3D printing of liquid crystal elastomers

   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

About the Project

Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are a new class of soft materials which have a myriad of potential uses due to their unique properties. Direct-Ink Writing (DIW) 3D printing provides a potential method to make large and highly complex devices from LCEs, but we need to first understand precisely how to control and optimise the extent of molecular order created in 3D printed devices. Order is dictated by a plethora of material properties and printing parameters such as temperature, ink viscosity, printing speed, and nozzle geometry.

In this project you will create a fluid dynamics model to understand how the molecular ordering created by the extrusion flow can be maximised in DIW printed LCE devices. The predictions of this model will be verifying against experimental tests of physically printed LCE devices.

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