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The Physics of Lyotropic Liquid CrystalsPhase Transitions and Structural Properties$
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Antônio M. Figueiredo Neto and Silvio R. A. Salinas

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525509.001.0001

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Basic Concepts Of Phase Transitions

Basic Concepts Of Phase Transitions

(p.77) 2 Basic Concepts Of Phase Transitions
The Physics of Lyotropic Liquid Crystals

Antônio M. Figueiredo Neto

Silvio R. A. Salinas

Oxford University Press

This chapter contains a number of examples of phase transitions and critical phenomena in simple magnetic and liquid crystalline systems. These simple examples, as well as standard mean-field calculations and Landau expansions, are used to provide an overview of the main concepts associated with phase transitions, critical and multicritical behaviour in simple systems. The Maier–Saupe model is used to discuss the first-order transition between uniaxial nematic and disordered structures, and to account for the existence of a biaxial nematic phase in lyotropic liquid mixtures. There is also a discussion of non-critical order parameters and the phenomenological reconstruction of phase diagrams, which are useful concepts to understand the behaviour of lyotropic mixtures in terms of temperature and concentration. The Landau–de Gennes expansion is used throughout this book as the basic theoretical framework to understand phase transitions in lyotropic liquid crystals.

Keywords:   Landau expansions, critical behaviour, multicritical behaviour, mean-field, Maier–Saupe model, Landau–de Gennes expansion, nematic phase, biaxial nematic phase, reconstruction

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