We have studied the oscillatory shear response of three thermotropic smectic-A liquid crystalline materials with no external aligning field (other than the necessary presence of rheometer plates). Two are polymers (one main-chain and one side-chain) and the other is a small molecule smectic. All three exhibit the classical linear response to oscillatory shear characteristic of a viscoelastic solid at sufficiently small strain amplitudes and frequencies. However, for strain amplitudes exceeding a small critical value, these materials exhibit a strongly nonlinear response to strain, which is characterized in detail. While the low-strain moduli and the critical strain of the three smectics are considerably different, the nonlinear response has some universal character which is presumably related to the low energy for the formation of defects in smectic liquid crystals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics