this work, we study the electro-optical behaviour of cellulose/liquid crystal-based composite systems, in particular the influence of the flexible substrates and its conductive layers in the electro-optical behaviour of these kind of cells. Four cells were made using, respectively, two different substrates (a flexible polymer (poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET)) and a soda lime glass) and two different conductive layers (indium tin oxide (ITO) and aluminium zinc oxide (AZO)). The conductive layer (AZO) was deposited in both, flexible and rigid substrates, for the same conditions, and the same substrates coated with ITO are commercially available. The cells were prepared from solid films of hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC) (30 mum thick) cross linked with 1,4-diisocyanatobutane (BDI) (7% w/w) and the nematic liquid crystal E7 (Merck, UK). The four different substrates were electrically and morphologically characterised. We have analysed all samples by light transmission and determined the maximum transmission, contrast and V-on. We show a comparison of the results obtained for both flexible and rigid cells and discuss them in terms of the proposed working mechanism for these systems. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.