Simulation of shell actuation and comparison with experiment
This protocol is extracted from research article:
Liquid crystal elastomer shell actuators with negative order parameter
Sci Adv, Apr 12, 2019; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2476

LCE shells were modeled using ABAQUS finite element software (SIMULIA, Johnston, RI, USA). Actuation was modeled as a thermal expansion (α = −0.002) in the tangential directions around the shell and a contraction in the thickness (α = 0.003). Material properties of the shell were assumed to be isotropic with a modulus of 150 MPa and a Poisson ratio of 0.48. A temperature change was applied to the model to induce approximately a 4 to 5.2% biaxial strain along the shell surface. The inner surface was assigned a fluid cavity interaction with a fluid density of 1 g/cm3 to simulate water filling the LCE shell. Two shell configurations were tested: one where the inner cavity shared the same center point as the outer shell to create a perfect sphere, and the other where the centers were offset by 5% of the outer diameter. To ensure modeling accuracy, mesh density was increased until the thinnest portions of the shell were at least two elements in thickness. The perfectly spherical shell was modeled as a 500-μm sphere with a wall thickness of 10 μm, while the offset shell was modeled as an outer sphere and a center cavity with its center offset by 5% of the outer diameter and a wall thickness of 10 μm at the thinnest portion of the shell.

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