J. Phys. II France
Volume 2, Numéro 5, May 1992
Page(s) 1121 - 1132
DOI: 10.1051/jp2:1992190
J. Phys. II France 2 (1992) 1121-1132

The effect of the spacer length on the nature of coupling in side chain liquid crystals polymers and elastomers

G. R. Mitchell, M. Coulter, F. J. Davis and W. Guo

Polymer Science Centre, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 2AF, G.B.

(Received 29 October 1991, accepted in final form 17 January 1992)

Side chain liquid crystal polymers and elastomers exhibit a rich phase behaviour which arises from the antagonistic influences of the entropically disordered polymer chain configuration and the long range orientational ordering of the mesogenic units. This competition arises since the natural macroscopic phase separation is inhibited by the inherent chemical connectivity of the system. At the heart of this connectivity is the spacer link and we consider here its influence on the phase behaviour. In particular we consider a series of elastomers in which the number of alkyl units in the spacer is systematically varied from 2 to 6. The lengthening of the coupling spacer is accompanied by an alternation of the sign of coupling between the polymer chain and the mesogenic unit. These results demonstrate the dominating influence of the so-called hinge effect in determining the phase behaviour. In addition to the alternation of the sign there is some decrease in the magnitude of the coupling with increasing spacer length.

61.20 - 61.40K - 64.70

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