J. Phys. II France
Volume 5, Numéro 10, October 1995
Page(s) 1547 - 1565
DOI: 10.1051/jp2:1995198
J. Phys. II France 5 (1995) 1547-1565

Columnar to Nematic Mesophase Transition: Binary Mixtures of Unlike Copper Soaps

R. Seghrouchni and A. Skoulios

Groupe des Matériaux Organiques, Institut de Physique et Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg UMR 0046 (CNRS-ULP-EHICS), 23 rue du Loess, 67037 Strasbourg Cedex, France

(Received 16 May 1995, accepted 30 June 1995)

Copper (II) soaps are known to produce columnar mesophases at high temperature. The polar groups of the soap molecules are stacked over one another within columns surrounded by the alkyl chains in a disordered conformation and laterally arranged according to a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice. The present work studies the mesomorphic behaviour of binary mixtures of copper soaps using differential scanning calorimetry, polarizing microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. When the soaps are of comparable molecular sizes the mixtures are homogeneous and columnar at all compositions. The columns of the two soaps, remaining intact in the mixture, are distributed randomly on the nodes of a hexagonal Bravais lattice. Crystallographic homogeneity is obtained by transfer of methylene groups from cell to cell. When, on the other hand, the soaps are different enough in molecular sizes, the columnar structure of the mixtures is interrupted in the middle range of compositions for the benefit of a nematic one. The transfer of methylene groups gets indeed harder to achieve and the distortion of the hexagonal units cells becomes important. The columnar to nematic phase transition is discussed on a molecular and a topological level.

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