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Title: Computer simulation of confined liquid crystal dynamics
Author: Webster, Richard E.
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2001
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Results are presented from a series of simulations undertaken to determine whether dynamic processes observed in device-scale liquid crystal cells confined between aligning substrates can be simulated in a molecular system using parallel molecular dynamics of the Gay-Berne model. In a nematic cell, on removal of an aligning field, initial near-surface director relaxation can induce flow, termed 'backflow', in the liquid. This, in turn, can cause director rotation, termed 'orientational kickback', in the centre of the cell. Simulations are performed of the relaxation in nematic systems confined between substrates with a common alignment on removal of an aligning field. Results show that relaxation timescales of medium sized systems are accessible. Following this, simulations are performed of relaxation in hybrid aligned nematic systems, where each surface induces a different alignment. Flow patterns associated with director reorientation are observed. The damped oscillatory nature of the relaxation process suggests that the behaviour of these systems is dominated by orientational elastic forces and that the observed director motion and flow do not correspond to the macroscopic processes of backflow and kickback. Chevron structures can occur in confined smectic cells which develop two domains of equal and opposite layer tilt on cooling. Layer tilting is thought to be caused by a need to reconcile a mismatch between bulk and surface smectic layer spacing. Here, simulations are performed of the formation of structures in confined smectic systems where layer tilt is induced by an imposed surface pretilt. Results show that bookshelf, chevron and tilted layer structures are observable in a confined Gay-Berne system. The formation and stability of the chevron structure are shown to be influenced by surface slip.
Supervisor: Cleaver, Doug ; Care, Chris Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available