Photo-induced deformations of beams, plates and films

Mark Warner ,L Mahadevan

Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge

Photo-responsive solids such as nematic photoelastomers can undergo large deformations induced by light absorbed into rod-like molecules which bend and disrupt liquid crystal order. Significant variation of photo-absorption through the solid leads to non-uniform elastic deformations such as bending of beams and plates, and pitting of layers. Such effects are also found in the presence of inhomogeneous thermal or swelling fields in solids or gels. We analyze the small deflection limit of these problems and show that beams made of these materials can have two elastically neutral planes, and that plates of these materials have a typical saddle shape. We also give a scaling analysis of the elasticity of photo-induced mounds and pits and speculate on their applications.

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