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Nematic elastomers exhibit a rich elastic response to external stresses. Of particular interest is the semisoft response of elastomers with an anisotropy direction (z) frozen in by a double cross-linking process. This response is characterized by a stress-strain curve for stresses along x perpendicular to z that rises initially, exhibits a nearly flat plateau between two critical values of strain, and then rises again. This paper explores elastic response in semisoft elastomers as a function of externally applied strain. It derives general Ward identities for elastic moduli and shows that the elastic modulus measuring response to xz shears vanishes at the boundaries of the semisoft plateau whereas moduli measuring response to shears perpendicular to the xz plane do not. It then calculates all relevant moduli in a simple model of elastomers and verifies the general Ward-identity predictions.
Date Posted: 04 November 2010
This document has been peer reviewed.