Slidable Cross-Linking Effect on Liquid Crystal Elastomers: Enhancement of Toughness, Shape-Memory, and Self-Healing Properties

Subi Choi, Bitgaram Kim, Sungmin Park, Ji Hun Seo, Suk Kyun Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The network structures of liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are crucial to impart rubbery behavior to LCEs and enable reversible actuation. Most LCEs developed to date are covalently linked, implying that the cross-links are fixed at a particular position. Herein, we report a new class of LCEs integrating polyrotaxanes (PRs) as slidable cross-links (PR-LCEs). Interestingly, the incorporation of a low loading (0.3-2.0 wt %) of the PR cross-linkers to the LCE causes a significant impact on various properties of the resulting PR-LCEs due to the pulley effect. The optimum PR loading is determined to be 0.5 wt %, at which point the toughness and damping behavior are maximized. The robust mechanical properties of the PR-LCE offers a superior actuation performance to that of the pristine LCE along with an excellent quadruple shape-memory effect. Furthermore, the incorporation of PR is useful to enhance the efficiency of shape-memory-assisted self-healing when heating above the nematic-isotropic transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32486-32496
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 20

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Korean Government, Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) (2019R1C1C1006048, 2019M3D1A2103918, and 2021M3H4A1A03041403). S.C. acknowledges the BK FOUR Program for partial financial support. We thank Prof. Songkil Kim for carrying out the AFM measurements with the support of the PNU Hybrid Innovative Manufacturing Engineering Center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.


  • actuators
  • liquid crystal elastomers
  • polyrotaxanes
  • self-healing
  • shape-memory polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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