Main chain liquid crystal elastomers exhibit several interesting phenomena, such as three different regimes of elastic response, unconventional stress-strain relationship in one of these regimes, and the shape memory effect. Investigations are beginning to reveal relationships between their macroscopic behavior and the nature of domain structure, microscopic smectic phase structure, relaxation mechanism, and sample history. These aspects of liquid crystal elastomers are briefly reviewed followed by a summary of the results of recent elastic and high-resolution X-ray diffraction studies of the shape memory effect and the dynamics of the formation of the smectic-C chevron-like layer structure. A possible route to realizing auxetic effect at molecular level is also discussed.
Nonsymmetric bent-core liquid crystals based on a 1,2,4-thiadiazole core unit and their nematic mesomorphism01/01/2011
The synthesis and thermotropic properties of novel V-shaped molecules having a central 1,3,4-thiadiazole core with a bend-angle of 160 are reported. The compounds consist of a shape-persistent oligo(phenylene ethynylene) scaffold with lateral alkyloxy substituents. One of the terminal aromatic units possesses an alkoxy chain capped by an ethyl ester group while the second terminus is a pyridyl group. They exhibit enantiotropic nematic phases and are characterized by polarized optical microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and X-ray diffraction. Results from conoscopy indicate a biaxial nature of the nematic phase near room temperature. DFT calculations of dipole moments and molecular polarizabilities are used to substantiate the experimental findings.