Liquid Crystals

Chapter 1.3.2 - Polymeric Liquid Crystals

1.3.2.   Polymeric Liquid Crystals

Polymeric liquid crystals are basically the polymer versions of the monomers discussed
in Section 1.1. There are three common types of polymers, as shown in
Figures 1.9a–1.9c, which are characterized by the degree of flexibility. The vinyl
type (Fig. 1.9a) is the most flexible; the Dupont Kevlar polymer (Fig. 1.9b) is semi-
rigid; and the polypeptide chain (Fig. 1.9c) is the most rigid. Mesogenic (or liquid

Figure 1.8. Chemical structure and cartoon representation of sodium dodecylsulfate (soap) forming micelles.


Figure 1.9. Three different types of polymeric liquid crystals. (a) Vinyl type; (b) Kevlar polymer; (c) polypeptide chain.


crystalline) polymers are classified in accordance with the molecular architectural
arrangement of the mesogenic monomer. Main-chain polymers are built up by joining
together the rigid mesogenic groups in a manner depicted schematically in
Figure 1.10a; the link may be a direct bond or some flexible spacer. Liquid crystal
side-chain polymers are formed by the pendant side attachment of mesogenic
monomers to a conventional polymeric chain, as depicted in Figure 1.10b. A good
account of polymeric liquid crystals may be found in Ciferri et al.3 In general,
polymeric liquid crystals are characterized by much higher viscosity than that of
monomers, and they appear to be useful for optical storage applications.

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