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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R00104/01
Title: Elastomer Gels as Electromechanical Components In Low Reynolds Number Chemical Processing
Principal Investigator: Styring, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Haswell, Professor S Tesar, Professor V Allen, Professor R
Priestman, Dr GH Tippetts, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemical & Biological Engineering
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 19 March 2001 Ends: 18 June 2004 Value (£): 175,183
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Manufacturing Chemicals
Related Grants:
GR/R00098/01
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 be applied field, we can affect volume changes of (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 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 of expansive) LCEs. LCEs have the advantage over simple elastomers in that we can readily design in features to enhance electrochemical response, and because we will look at large molecules (~0.3 nm) in volume changes experienced will b e considerably larger. Mechanical properties will be examined by electro-optic and mechanical techniques, including dynamic mechanical analysis. Selected LCEs will be used to construct simple electromechanical devices for the control of solvents and solutions.
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk