(214aj) Free Energy Based Method for Calculating Elastic Constants of Liquid Crystals
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 4, 2013 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
There is considerable interest in designing liquid crystals capable of yielding specific morphological responses in confined environments, including capillaries and droplets. The morphology of a liquid crystal is largely dictated by the elastic constants, which are difficult to measure and are only available for a handful of substances. In this work, a first-principles based method is proposed to calculate the Frank elastic constants of nematic liquid crystals directly from atomistic models. These include the standard splay, twist and bend deformations, and the often-ignored but important saddle-splay constant. The proposed method is validated using a well-studied Gay-Berne(3,5,2,1) model; we examine the effects of temperature and system size on the elastic constants in the nematic and smectic phases. We find that our measurements of splay, twist, and bend elastic constants are consistent with previous estimates for the nematic phase. We further outline the implementation of our approach for the saddle-splay elastic constant, and find it to have a value at the limits of the Ericksen inequalities. We then proceed to report results for the elastic constants of atomistic models of liquid crystals, including 5CB and 8CB, and show that the values predicted by our approach are consistent with a subset of the available but limited experimental literature.