Indexed on: 01 Sep '97Published on: 01 Sep '97Published in: Rheologica Acta
Low molar mass liquid crystal solvents with positive dielectric anisotropy exhibit an electro-rheological (ER) effect such that the viscosity, ηon, in the presence of a strong electric field, applied transverse to the flow, is larger than that, ηoff, in the absence of such a field. Dissolution of a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) enhances the magnitude of the ER effect (ηon - ηoff) by an amount, σηon - σηoff which is an increasing function of LCP concentration and depends on the molecular architecture of the LCP Specifically, we show that two main-chain LCPs, with different chemical structures, strongly increase the ER response, a side-on side-chain LCP moderately increases the response, and an end-on side-chain LCP weakly increases the response. These diverse behaviors can be interpreted using theoretical arguments which assume that the LCP conformation is an ellipsoid of revolution whose orientation relative to the flow direction is determined by the balance between the hydrodynamic and electric torques on the fluid. The different ER responses are consistent with the idea that main-chain LCPs are highly prolate, the side-on side chain LCP is moderately prolate, and the end-on side chain LCP is quasi-spherical. A molecular description is obtained by equating ηon, and ηoff, respectively, to the Miesowicz viscosities ηc and ηb, and using a hydrodynamical model developed by Brochard which deduces that σηc/σηb = R‖4/R⊥4, where R‖ and R⊥ are the end-to-end distances of the chain, respectively, parallel and perpendicular to the director.