Electrically driven liquid crystal network actuators
Soft actuators based on liquid crystal networks (LCNs) have aroused great scientific interest for use as stimuli-controlled shape-changing and moving components for robotic devices due to their fast, large, programmable and solvent-free actuation responses. Recently, various LCN actuators have been implemented in soft robotics using stimulus sources such as heat, light, humidity and chemical reactions. Among them, electrically driven LCN actuators allow easy modulation and programming of the input electrical signals (amplitude, phase, and frequency) as well as stimulation throughout the volume, rendering them promising actuators for practical applications. Herein, the progress of electrically driven LCN actuators regarding their construction, actuation mechanisms, actuation performance, actuation programmability and the design strategies for intelligent systems is elucidated. We also discuss new robotic functions and advanced actuation control. Finally, an outlook is provided, highlighting the research challenges faced with this type of actuator.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Soft Robotics