Soft color composites with tunable optical transmittance

López Jiménez, F., Kumar, S. and Reis, P. M. (2016) Soft color composites with tunable optical transmittance. Advanced Optical Materials, (doi: 10.1002/adom.201500617)

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A class of soft color composites whose light transmittance can be actively tuned and controlled through mechanical actuation is studied. The design comprises thin sheets of polydimethylsiloxane, an optically clear silicone‐based rubber, that is mixed with a colloidal suspension of black micrometer‐sized dye particles to provide tunable opacity to the specimens. The thickness of the samples can be reduced by mechanical loading (e.g., pneumatically), which modulates the thickness and, in turn, the transmittance by as much as 40%. The mechanism is independent of the specific method of actuation chosen for loading. Scaling analysis and finite element modeling are combined to predictively describe and rationalize the evolution of the transmittance of our samples as a function of the applied mechanical loading and validate the predictions against biaxial tensile experiments. Compared to existing solutions, the main advantages of this mechanism are that it is remarkably simple and robust, as well as fast and fully reversible. Making use of this framework, pneumatic bulging is then chosen as a representative loading strategy, for which a series of design guidelines is presented, which may be implemented in practical applications, such as smart windows and other visually active materials.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kumar, Professor Shanmugam
Authors: López Jiménez, F., Kumar, S., and Reis, P. M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Advanced Optical Materials
ISSN (Online):2195-1071
Published Online:21 January 2016

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