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Title: Liquid Crystal Elastomer–Liquid Metal Composite: Ultrafast, Untethered, and Programmable Actuation by Induction Heating

Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are a class of stimuli‐responsive materials that have been intensively studied for applications including artificial muscles, shape morphing structures, and soft robotics due to their capability of large, programmable, and fully reversible actuation strains. To fully take advantage of LCEs, rapid, untethered, and programmable actuation methods are highly desirable. Here, a liquid crystal elastomer‐liquid metal (LCE‐LM) composite is reported, which enables ultrafast and programmable actuations by eddy current induction heating. The composite consists of LM sandwiched between two LCE layers printed via direct ink writing (DIW). When subjected to a high‐frequency alternating magnetic field, the composite is actuated in milliseconds. By moving the magnetic field, the eddy current is spatially controlled for selective actuation. Additionally, sequential actuation is achievable by programming the LM thickness distribution in a sample. With these capabilities, the LCE‐LM composite is further exploited for multimodal deformation of a pop‐up structure, on‐ground omnidirectional robotic motion, and in‐water targeted object manipulation and crawling.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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