Flow-induced delayed Freedericksz transition

Nigel Mottram, Geoffrey McKay, Carl Brown, Craig Russell, Ian Sage

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We demonstrate that a compact manometer experiment allows direct observation of a delay to the classical electric field induced Freedericksz transition produced by flow in a highly dispersive nematic liquid crystal layer. The Ericksen-Leslie equations are used to show that a flow aligning torque generated in the nematic layer under Poiseuille flow competes with the orthogonal electric field re-orientation torque. This model fully reproduces the experimental results using only self-consistently determined viscosity values, and predicts a more generally applicable expression for the dependence of the delay Ec ∝√(ζ/Δχe) on the shear rate ζ and on the electric susceptibility anisotropy Δχe.. 
Original languageEnglish
Article number030701(R)
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016


  • compact manometer experiment
  • classical electric field
  • Freedericksz transition
  • Erickson-Leslie equation


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