Liquid crystal elastomers are cross-linked polymer networks covalently bonded with liquid crystal mesogens. In the nematic phase, due to strong coupling between mechanical strain and orientational order, these materials display strain-induced instabilities associated with formation and evolution of orientational domains. Using a three-dimensional finite element elastodynamics simulation, we investigate one such instability, the onset of stripe formation in a monodomain film stretched along an axis perpendicular to the nematic director. In our simulation, we observe the formation of striped domains with alternating director rotation. This model allows us to explore the fundamental physics governing dynamic mechanical response of nematic elastomers and also provides a potentially useful computational tool for engineering device applications.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robin_selinger/4/