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1+1=3: Order from Disorder, and the Amazing Elasticity of Liquid-Crystal Rubber

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Saturday, April 7, 2012 - 8:00am

Speaker Name(s): 

Professor Leo Radzihovsky

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Condensed Matter Physics
Seminar Type/Subject

Event Details & Abstract: 

After embarking on a whirlwind tour of the magical world of condensed matter physics—where a whole is often much bigger than the sum of its parts—Professor Leo Radzihovsky will focus on the specific example of liquid-crystal rubber. This amazing, newly developed material is an amalgam of a liquid-crystal and rubber—themselves fascinating examples of condensed matter familiar from everyday use.While still a solid in many respects, because of the interplay of liquid-crystallinity and rubber elasticity, this solid liquid-crystal behaves like a liquid in many ways. For example, at low temperature it can be stretched in some directions by as much as 400%, exerting virtually zero stress. Professor Radzhihovsky will discuss the mechanism behind this and a number of other bizarre behaviors, as well as a potential for their many applications, ranging from from artificial muscle to heat engines and optical switches.