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Anchoring distortions coupled with plane Couette & Poiseuille flows of nematic polymers in viscous solvents: Morphology in molecular orientation, stress & flow

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  • The aim of this work is to model and simulate processing-induced heterogeneity in rigid, rod-like nematic polymers in viscous solvents. We employ a mesoscopic orientation tensor model due to Doi, Marrucci and Greco which extends the small molecule, liquid crystal theory of Leslie-Ericksen-Frank to nematic polymers. The morphology has various physical realizations, all coupled through the model equations: the orientational distribution of the ensemble of rods, anisotropic viscoelastic stresses, and flow feedback. Previous studies in plane Couette & Poiseuille flow (with the exception of [7]) have focused on the coupling between hydrodynamics and the orientational distribution of rigid rod polymers with identical anchoring conditions at solid boundaries; without flow, the equilibrium structure is homogeneous. Here we explore steady structures that emerge with mismatch anchoring conditions at the walls, which couple an equilibrium elastic distortion across the channel, short and long range elasticity potentials, and hydrodynamics. In plane Couette (where moving plates drive the flow) and Poiseuille flow (where a pressure gradient drives the flow), in the regime of weak flow and strong distortional elasticity, asymptotic analysis yields closed-form steady solutions and scaling laws with identical wall conditions. We focus simulations in this regime to expose the effects due to wall anchoring conflicts, and illustrate the induced morphology of the orientational distribution, stored viscoelastic stresses, and non-Newtonian flow. A remarkably simple diagnostic emerges in this physical parameter regime, in which salient morphology features are controlled by the amplitude and sign of the difference in plate anchoring angles of the director field at the two plates.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: 37C45.

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