Isotropic-nematic spinodal decomposition dynamics

Jan K.G. Dhont, W.J. Briels

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20 Citations (Scopus)
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The initial stage of isotropic-nematic spinodal demixing kinetics of suspensions of very long and thin, stiff, repulsive rods is analyzed on the basis of the N -particle Smoluchowski equation. Equations of motion for the reduced probability density function of the position and orientation of a rod are expanded up to second order in spatial gradients and leading order in orientational order parameter. The resulting equation of motion is solved analytically, from which the temporal evolution of light-scattering patterns are calculated. It is shown that inhomogeneities in number density are enslaved by the temporal development of inhomogeneities in orientational order. Furthermore, demixing due to rotational diffusion is shown to be much faster as compared to translational diffusion. This results in an instable mode that is rotational, for which the corresponding eigenvector remains finite at zero wave vector. The scattered intensity nevertheless exhibits a maximum at a finite wave vector due to the wave-vector dependence of time-exponential prefactors. The wave vector where the intensity exhibits a maximum is therefore predicted to be a function of time even during the initial stage of demixing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031404
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • IR-53351
  • METIS-225974


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