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Applications Activity: Liquid Crystal Sensors

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Audience: Middle school class
Time Needed: 50 minutes

  • Understand how liquid crystals (LCs) relate to other phases of matter (liquid, solid, gas)
  • Observe that liquid crystals reflect many different colors (wavelengths) of light
  • Learn that thermally sensitive LCs twist and turn (change pitch & orientation) at different temperatures, which changes the particular color of light that they reflect
  • Learn that just like some LCs can measure temperature, others can 'sense' particular chemicals and biological agents
  • Explore how LC sensors can be used to detect changes that cannot be seen with the naked eye
  • Brainstorm particular applications of LC sensors
Activity Materials:
Supplemental Materials:

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