An effective model for nematic liquid crystal composites with ferromagnetic inclusions

M. C. Calderer, A. Desimone, D. Golovaty, A. Panchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Molecules of a nematic liquid crystal respond to an applied magnetic field by reorienting themselves in the direction of the field. Since the dielectric anisotropy of a nematic is small, it takes relatively large fields to elicit a significant liquid crystal response. The interaction may be enhanced in colloidal suspensions of ferromagnetic particles in a liquid crystalline matrix- ferronematics-as proposed by Brochard and de Gennes in 1970. The ability of these particles to align with the field and simultaneously cause reorientation of the nematic molecules greatly increases the magnetic response of the mixture. Essentially the particles provide an easy axis of magnetization that interacts with the liquid crystal via surface anchoring. We derive an expression for the effective energy of ferronematic in the dilute limit, that is, when the number of particles tends to infinity while their total volume fraction tends to zero. The total energy of the mixture is assumed to be the sum of the bulk elastic liquid crystal contribution, the anchoring energy of the liquid crystal on the surfaces of the particles, and the magnetic energy of interaction between the particles and the applied magnetic field. The homogenized limiting ferronematic energy is obtained rigorously using a variational approach. It generalizes formal expressions previously reported in the physical literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-262
Number of pages26
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Ferronematics
  • Homogenization
  • Liquid crystal

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