Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Anisotropic Networks, Elastomers, and Gels

  • Eugene M. TerentjevEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27737-5_20-2

Definition of the Subject

Anisotropic (liquid crystalline) elastomers and gels bring together, as nowhere else, three important ideas: orientational order in amorphous soft materials, responsive molecular shape, and quenched topological constraints. Acting together, they create many new physical phenomena that are briefly reviewed in this article. Classical liquid crystals are typically fluids of relatively stiff rod molecules with long-range orientational order. Long polymer chains, with incorporated rigid anisotropic units, can also form orientationally ordered liquid crystalline phases. By contrast with free rigid rods, these flexible chains change their average molecular shape, from isotropic spherical to ellipsoidal, when their component rods align. Linking the polymer chains together into a network fixes their relative topology, and the polymer melt (or solution) becomes an elastic solid – an elastomer (or gel). Radically new properties arise from the ability to change average...


Trace Formula Stripe Domain Deformation Gradient Tensor Nematic Order Selective Reflection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cavendish LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK