Soft materials: from fundamental mechanics to engineering applications
Professor Shengqiang Cai, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of California, San Diego
In recent years, soft materials have been extensively explored in a myriad of engineering applications including wearable devices and soft robotics. In the talk, I will discuss some of our recent work on soft materials. My presentation will mainly contain two parts. In the first part, I will talk about recent progress made in our group on artificial muscle. I will first show superior actuating performance of liquid crystal elastomers. I will also discuss several intriguing phenomena and applications of liquid crystal elastomer as artificial muscle. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss the challenges of studying mechanics of soft materials. Electromechanical instabilities of electroactive polymers and nonlinear crease formation in an everted tube will serve as two examples.