Thermal cycling was performed by programming a 6 mm × 6 mm × 0.5 mm sample in the clamps of a TA RSA-G2 held at 80% strain and irradiated with 365 nm (30 mW/cm2) for 180 s. The strain was removed, and the sample was then heated at 3°C/min to 100°C, then cooled to 28°C, and heated at 3°C/min to 100°C while maintaining 1 kPa of stress and monitoring the strain. Temperature-dependent mechanical properties of polydomain LCEs were measured on a TA RSA-G2 with 0.1 to 1% strain amplitude at 1 Hz and a heating rate of 3°C/min. A heating rate of 3°C/min was chosen to ensure uniform heating in reasonably timed experiments.

Stress relaxation experiments were performed in tension on the TA RSA-G2 with 10% strain for 10 min. Light (30 mW/cm2 of 320 to 500 nm) was turned on after 5 min and remained on for the duration of the experiment.

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