Phase separation in liquid crystal/gel composites: Role of network elasticity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phase separation in gels swollen by nematic solvents is investigated using a time-dependent Ginzburg-Landau model. We demonstrate that elasticity of the polymer network is responsible for a foam-like domain morphology observed in polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs). Rubber elasticity also prevents domain merger, leading to a coarsening behavior substantially slower than in liquid-liquid demixing. We briefly discuss phase separation in nematic polymer gels, in which operates a novel anchoring mechanism mediated by elastic strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Nematics
  • PDLC
  • Phase separation
  • Polymer networks


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