Nicholas Traugutt, I am a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver under the tutelage of Prof. Chris Yakacki. My research focuses on how to tailor bulk liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) structures across different length scales (e.g. meso, micro, and macro) to better dissipate mechanical energy. In the course of my research, I have discovered several different molding and manufacturing techniques through the use of additive manufacturing as well as helping to improve synthetic methods for the thiol-acrylate LCE chemistry. One of my greatest achievements to date includes creating a scalable and tailorable method to use digital light processing to 3D print LCE structures that would otherwise be difficult to impossible to fabricate.
In my downtime on campus from researching LCEs, I am often tinkering with 3D printers. My knowledge and abilities with 3D printing led to an opportunity to work as a consultant for 3D printing PEEK, and I have success with 3D printing other engineering polymers such as PPSU.
I currently have six peer-reviewed papers, including a recent publication in Advanced Materials for DLP printing LCEs.