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Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Apr 2;92(13):134302. Epub 2004 Apr 2.

Photoinduced deformations of beams, plates, and films.

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Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, United Kingdom.


Photoresponsive solids such as nematic photoelastomers can undergo large deformations induced by light absorbed into rodlike molecules which bend and disrupt liquid crystal order. Significant variation of photoabsorption through the solid leads to nonuniform elastic deformations such as bending of beams and plates and pitting of layers. Such effects are also found in the presence of inhomogeneous thermal or swelling fields in solids or gels. We analyze the small deflection limit of these problems and show that beams made of these materials can have two elastically neutral planes, and that plates of these materials have a typical saddle shape. We also give a scaling analysis of the elasticity of photoinduced mounds and pits and speculate on their applications.

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