Liquid Crystal Elastomers for Biological Applications

E.I.L. Jull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The term liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) describes a class of materials that combine the elastic entropy behaviour associated with conventional elastomers with the stimuli responsive properties of anisotropic liquid crystals. LCEs consequently exhibit attributes of both elastomers and liquid crystals, but additionally have unique properties not found in either. Recent developments in LCE synthesis, as well as the understanding of the behaviour of liquid crystal elastomers—namely their mechanical, optical and responsive properties—is of significant relevance to biology and biomedicine. LCEs are abundant in nature, highlighting the potential use of LCEs in biomimetics. Their exceptional tensile properties and biocompatibility have led to research exploring their applications in artificial tissue, biological sensors and cell scaffolds by exploiting their actuation and shock absorption properties. There has also been significant recent interest in using LCEs as a model for morphogenesis. This review provides an overview of some aspects of LCEs which are of relevance in different branches of biology and biomedicine, as well as discussing how recent LCE advances could impact future applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number813
Pages (from-to)1-19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • liquid crystal elastomers
  • biological materials
  • auxetics
  • biomimetics
  • actuators


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