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Title:Free-energy density functions for nematic elastomers
Author(s):Fried, Eliot; Sellers, Shaun
Abstract:The recently proposed neo-classical theory for nematic elastomers is a molecular-statistical generalization of classical Gaussian network theory. The resulting free-energy density predicts the phenomenon of soft elasticity—the ability of elastomers to undergo large deformations with zero force and energy cost. The theory, however, suffers from several drawbacks: (i) extreme non-uniqueness as zero applied force corresponds to infinitely many possible deformations, (ii) insufficient moduli to model observed experimental behavior, and (iii) physically, a small, but non-zero, force must be applied. Here we propose an alternative continuum model for nematic elastomers that removes these drawbacks. Motivated by the molecular-statistical theory, we identify microstructural degrees of freedom as well as two independent strain tensors (the overall macroscopic strain plus a relative strain that indicates how the deformation of the elastomeric microstructure deviates from the macroscopic deformation) and propose expressions for the free energy as a function of the three quantities. The resulting theory provides a self-consistent bridge that connects neo-classical theory to continuum microstructural theories as well as to the classical theory of anisotropic nonlinearly elastic solids.
Issue Date:2003-09
Publisher:Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (UIUC)
Series/Report:TAM Reports 1034
Genre:Technical Report
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-03-08
Is Version Of:Published as: Eliot Fried and Shaun Sellers. Free-energy density functions for nematic elastomers. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, Vol. 52, no. 7, pp. 1671-1689. July 2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2003.12.005. Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science.

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  • Technical Reports - Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (TAM)
    TAM technical reports include manuscripts intended for publication, theses judged to have general interest, notes prepared for short courses, symposia compiled from outstanding undergraduate projects, and reports prepared for research-sponsoring agencies.

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