Liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are an exciting new form of soft-solid that combines the orientational order of a liquid crystal with the large strain elasticity of a rubber. More precisely, they are rubber-like solids constructed from rigid molecular rods, which spontaneously align within the elastomer along a common direction. On heating or illumination, the alignment is disrupted, causing the LCE to spontaneous contraction by a large factor (>50%). Thus LCEs are soft solids that contract on demand: an enticing analogue of a biological muscle.
This project aims to use LCE actuation to design and create complex shape-morphing structures and/or soft mechanical machines. The Biggins group combines theory and fabrication, and this position would be suitable for a candidate with a primary interest in either.
Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering or other related subject.
EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible UK students. International (including EU) students will be considered for partial funding (home-level fees and maintenance) from the DTP. We recommend that international students apply by 3 December, in order to be put forward for funding from the Cambridge Trust for the home-overseas fee difference if selected.
Further details about eligibility and funding can be found at: https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/help/eligibility/ https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/feeshttps://www.cambridgetrust.org/scholarships/
Applications should be submitted via the University of Cambridge Applicant Portal www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/egegpdpeg, with John Biggins identified as the potential supervisor.
Note that there is a £70 fee for PhD applications.
The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.