Thursday, May 9, 2013

1305.1844 (Andrew W. Brown et al.)

A numerical study of stretched smectic-A elastomer sheets    [PDF]

Andrew W. Brown, James M. Adams
We present a numerical study of stretching monodomain smectic-A elastomer sheets, computed using the finite element method. When stretched parallel to the layer normal the microscopic layers in smectic elastomers are unstable to a transition to a buckled state. We account for the layer buckling by replacing the microscopic energy with a coarse grained effective free energy that accounts for the fine scale deformation of the layers. We augment this model with a term to describe the energy of deforming buckled layers, which is necessary to reproduce the experimentally observed Poisson's ratios post-buckling. We examine the spatial distribution of the microstructure phases for various stretching angles relative to the layer normal, and for different length-to-width aspect ratios. When stretching parallel to the layer normal the majority of the sample forms a bi-directionally buckled microstructure, except at the clamps where uni-directional microstructure is predicted. When stretching at small inclinations to the layer normal the phase of the sample is sensitive to the aspect ratio of the sample, with the bi-directionally buckled phase persistent to large angles only for small aspect ratios. We relate these theoretical results to experiments on smectic-A elastomers.
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