Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Panchapakesan, Balaji

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Cohn, Robert W.

Committee Member

Cohn, Robert W.

Committee Member

Williams, Stuart J.




Elastomeric composites based on nanotube liquid crystals (LCs) that preserve the internal orientation of nanotubes could lead to anisotropic physical properties and flexible energy conversion. Using simple vacuum filtration technique of fabricating nanotube LCs films and utilizing a transfer process to poly (dimethyl) siloxane wherein the LCs arrangement is preserved, in this thesis we demonstrate unique and reversible photomechanical response of this layered composite to excitation by near infra-red (NIR) light at ultra-low nanotube mass fractions. Schlieren textures were noted in these LCs composites confirming long range macroscopic nematic order of nanotubes within the composites. Maximum photomechanical stress of ~23kPa, energy conversion factor of 0.5 MPa/W and energy conversion of ~0.0045% was achieved. The combination of properties, namely, optical anisotropy, reversible mechanical response to NIR excitation and flexible energy conversion all in one system makes nanotube LCs elastomers important for soft photochromic actuation, energy conversion and photo-origami applications.