A multifunctional shape-morphing elastomer with liquid metal inclusions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Natural soft tissue achieves a rich variety of functionality through a hierarchy of molecular, microscale, and mesoscale structures and ordering. Inspired by such architectures, we introduce a soft, multifunctional composite capable of a unique combination of sensing, mechanically robust electronic connectivity, and active shape morphing. The material is composed of a compliant and deformable liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) matrix that can achieve macroscopic shape change through a liquid crystal phase transition. The matrix is dispersed with liquid metal (LM) microparticles that are used to tailor the thermal and electrical conductivity of the LCE without detrimentally altering its mechanical or shape-morphing properties. Demonstrations of this composite for sensing, actuation, circuitry, and soft robot locomotion suggest the potential for versatile, tissue-like multifunctionality.

published proceedings

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

altmetric score

  • 207.704

author list (cited authors)

  • Ford, M. J., Ambulo, C. P., Kent, T. A., Markvicka, E. J., Pan, C., Malen, J., Ware, T. H., & Majidi, C.

citation count

  • 129

complete list of authors

  • Ford, Michael J||Ambulo, Cedric P||Kent, Teresa A||Markvicka, Eric J||Pan, Chengfeng||Malen, Jonathan||Ware, Taylor H||Majidi, Carmel

publication date

  • October 2019