Structure-property Relations of Siloxane-based Main Chain Liquid Crystalline Elastomers and Related Linear Polymers
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Soft materials have attracted much scientific and technical interest in recent years. In this thesis, attention has been placed on the underpinning relations between molecular structure and properties of one type of soft matter - main chain liquid crystalline elastomers (MCLCEs), which may have application as shape memory or as auxetic materials. In this work, a number of siloxane-based MCLCEs and their linear polymer analogues (MCLCPs) with chemical variations were synthesized and examined. Among these chemical variations, rigid p-phenylene transverse rod and flat-shaped anthraquinone (AQ) mesogenic monomers were specifically incorporated. Thermal and X-ray analysis found a smectic C phase in most of our MCLCEs, which was induced by the strong self-segregation of siloxane spacers, hydrocarbon spacers and mesogenic rods. The smectic C mesophase of the parent LCE was not grossly affected by terphenyl transverse rods. Mechanical studies of MCLCEs indicated the typical three-region stress-strain curve and a polydomain-to-monodomain transition. Strain recovery experiments of MCLCEs showed a significant dependence of strain retentions on the initial strains but not on the chemical variations, such as the crosslinker content and the lateral substituents on mesogenic rods. The MCLCE with p-phenylene transverse rod showed a highly ordered smectic A mesophase at room temperature with high stiffness. Mechanical properties of MCLCEs with AQ monomers exhibit a strong dependence on the specific combination of hydrocarbon spacer and siloxane spacer, which also strongly affect the formation of ð-ð stacking between AQ units. Poisson s ratio measurement over a wide strain range found distinct trends of Poisson s ratio as a function of the crosslinker content as well as terphenyl transverse rod loadings in its parent MCLCEs.