We show that bent-core liquid crystalline materials exhibit non-Newtonian flow in their optically isotropic liquid phase. We conjecture that this behavior is due to the existence of nanostructured, fluctuating clusters composed of a few smectic-like layers. Shear alignment of these clusters explains the shear thinning observed in bent-core liquid crystals having either a nematic phase or non-modulated smectic phase. By contrast, smectogens having a modulated smectic phase do not shear thin at low shear rates, but even show a slight shear thickening which may be due to entanglements of wormlike and/or helical clusters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics