J. Phys. II France
Volume 5, Numéro 2, February 1995
Page(s) 303 - 311
DOI: 10.1051/jp2:1995130
J. Phys. II France 5 (1995) 303-311

Effects of Shear on the Smectic A Phase of Thermotropic Liquid Crystals

Pascal Panizza, Pascal Archambault and Didier Roux

Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, avenue Dr Schweitzer, 33600 Pessac, France

(Received 8 July 1994, received in final form 12 October 1994, accepted 20 October 1994)

The rheological behaviour of the smectic A phase of the thermotropic liquid crystal 4-cyano-4 '-octylbiphenyl (8CB) is examined. X-ray scattering studies under shear flow were performed to probe changes of structures. We found that in a certain range of temperatures two states of orientation of lamellae exist. These two steady states of orientation are separated by a first order dynamic transition that becomes continuous at $T_{\rm c}$ (a temperature different from that of the smectic/nematic transition). At low shear rates, the smectic A phase is non-Newtonian: its viscosity $\eta$ varies as $(T_{\rm c}-T)^{1/2}.\dot{\gamma}^{-1/2}$ (where $\dot{\gamma}$ is the shear rate and T the temperature). In this regime, the structure of the system is compatible with multilamellar cylinders oriented along the flow direction. At high shear rates, the system becomes Newtonian, its layers are then oriented perpendicular to the shearing plates (as already noticed by Safinya et al. [1]).

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