J. Phys. I France
Volume 7, Numéro 7, July 1997
Page(s) 909 - 919
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1997209
J. Phys. I France 7 (1997) 909-919

Dynamics and Thermodynamics of Artificial Muscles Based on Nematic Gels

M. Hébert, R. Kant and P.-G. de Gennes

Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée URA-CNRS n$^{\circ}$ 792, Collège de France, 11 Place Marcelin-Berthelot, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

(Received 2 December 1996, revised 11 March 1997, accepted le 13 March 1997)

A scheme based on nemato-mechanical conversion has been proposed for potential artificial muscle applications (de Gennes P.-G., Hébert M. and Kant R., to appear in Macromol. Symp. (1996)). As the temperature in a nematic gel is reduced through the transition temperature, strong uniaxial deformation is encountered. We briefly expose the dynamics of contraction/elongation in this system. Work and dissipative losses are calculated for an operating cycle to get an approximative expression of the ratio work/losses, which can then be compared with real muscular efficiencies.

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