Transitions in Poiseuille flow of nematic liquid crystal

T. G. Anderson, E. Mema, L. Kondic, L. J. Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Recent experiments by Sengupta et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2013) [9] revealed interesting transitions that can occur in flow of nematic liquid crystal under carefully controlled conditions within a long microfluidic channel of width much larger than height, and homeotropic anchoring at the walls. At low flow rates the director field of the nematic adopts a configuration that is dominated by the surface anchoring, being nearly parallel to the channel height direction over most of the cross-section; but at high flow rates there is a transition to a flow-dominated state, where the director configuration at the channel centerline is aligned with the flow (perpendicular to the channel height direction). We analyze simple channel-flow solutions to the Leslie-Ericksen model for nematics. We demonstrate that two solutions exist, at all flow rates, but that there is a transition between the elastic free energies of these solutions: the anchoring-dominated solution has the lowest energy at low flow rates, and the flow-dominated solution has lowest energy at high flow rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 11 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Flow transition
  • Microfluidics
  • Nematic liquid crystal


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