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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R00098/01
Title: Elastomer Gels as Electromechanical Components In Low Reynolds Number Chemical Processing
Principal Investigator: Allen, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Styring, Professor P Tippetts, Dr J Priestman, Dr GH
Haswell, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Professor V Tesar
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2000 Ends: 30 September 2003 Value (£): 233,450
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
GR/R00104/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The design of novel electromechanical pumps, switches and mixers for use in low Reynolds number chemical reactors that allow for accurate spatial and temporal control of reagent solutions. By constructing electrically addressed devices from chemically cross-linked polymers (elastomers), designed to allow efficient coupling of the molecular dipoles to the applied field, we can affect volume changes (10-25%) in the materials. We will therefore be able to move and mix reactant solutions through chemical reactors ranging from micro channel to large capillary geometries. While piezoelectric response has been well characterised in such materials only a few examples of a reciprocal piezoelectric (electrostrictive) response have been documented in simple polyurethane systems. We intend to extend work on piezoelectric liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) to the novel area of electroresponsive (strictive or expansive) LCEs. LCEs have the advantage over simple elastomers in that we can readily design in feature to enhance electromechanical response, and because we will look at large molecules (ca. 0.3 nm) the volume changes experienced will be considerably larger. Mechanical properties will be examined by electro-optic and mechanical techniques, including dynamic mechanical analysis.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk