Using differential scanning calorimetry, the transition enthalpies and temperatures for the bulk smectic-isotropic phase transition have been measured for a series of liquid-crystal compounds. For five compounds, those values were used as parameters in a microscopic mean-field model to predict the temperature dependence of the difference in free-energy density between a sample of material in a free-standing smectic film and that in the bulk. The model predicts a weak temperature dependence below the bulk clearing point and a pronounced monotonic increase with temperature above the transition temperature. The compounds used in this study were chosen specifically because they were also the subject of a previous independent experimental study that demonstrated a sudden monotonic increase in the free-standing film tension with temperature, which is qualitatively consistent with the predictions of the above-mentioned mean-field model. This study presents a direct and quantitative comparison between the predictions of the mean-field model and the results from previous tension experiments.
|Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
|Published - Sep 16 2009