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Shape-responsive liquid crystal elastomer bilayers.


Monodomain liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are shape-responsive materials, but shape changes are typically limited to simple uniaxial extensions or contractions. Here, we demonstrate that complex surface patterns and shape changes, including patterned wrinkles, helical twisting, and reversible folding, can be achieved in LCE-polystyrene (PS) bilayers. LCE-PS bilayer shape changes are achieved in response to simple temperature changes and can be controlled through various material parameters including overall aspect ratio and LCE and polystyrene film thicknesses. Deposition of a patterned PS film on top of an LCE enables the preparation of an elastomer that reversibly twists and a folding leaf-like elastomer, which opens and closes in response to temperature changes. The phenomena are captured through finite element simulations, in quantitative agreement with experiments.