What is the status?
We have a working computational model framework that accurately captures spontaneous-strain-driven shape change in the nematic actuators and continue to use it to explore and optimize design ideas.
What have you achieved so far?
We have found optimal parameters for multiple different versions of the original conical actuators as well as for newer designs.
Have you changed course at all?
We identified an unexpectedly huge role played by bonding to passive material in loss of efficiency of the conical actuators — and have created and characterized new designs in silico to mitigate these effects.
What do you expect from the final stage of the project?
We would like to continue to innovate on design ideas to create high-efficiency conical actuators in different states of bonding to passive surrounds, and to validate and optimize these ideas in simulation and, with our partners, in experiment and eventually in the microfluidic chips.