Continuum theory for nematic liquid crystals with tensorial order

A.M. Sonnet, P.L. Maffettone, E.G. Virga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


From a variational principle, we derive the equations of motion for nematic liquid crystals described by a second-rank order tensor. The only constitutive ingredients are the densities of the free energy and the dissipation, both subject to appropriate invariance requirements. We show that this theory is sufficiently general to encompass others as special cases. Comparing this theory with other theories also suggests criteria to avoid the proliferation of viscosity coefficients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004


  • nematic liquid crystals
  • alignment tensor
  • continuum theory


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