Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Liquid crystals in ionic systems

This is a joint research project of three groups sharing the common long-term scientific goal of studying the chemical and physical properties of ionic systems forming liquid crystals. It is well known that liquid crystals (mesophases) are usually formed by organic substances and systems of non-electrolytes. This project aims at developing the less known area of mesophase-forming electrolytes.

The following main conclusions have been drawn from the research project:

- it was established that the phenomenon of latent mesomorphism is inherent in many metal alkanoate systems. The unlike conditions of the showing up of latent mesomorphism have been described in the framework of a general interpretation which deserves further experimental evidence;

- the systems composed with the butanoates of Na-Ba, Na-Ca and Na-Sr display a special behaviour, in that they can form vitreous mesophases, i.e. glasses with optical and other physical anisotropic properties. These glasses may find an application as polarizers and bidimensional ionic conductors;

- all the mesomorphic systems studied (salt-salt and salt-acid) may be classified as follows:
a) systems with two mesomorphic components, where discontinuous liquid-crystalline solutions exist,
b) systems with one mesomorphic component, where liquid-crystalline solutions are formed in a limited composition range and where one metatectic equilibrium exists,
c) systems with two non-mesomorphic components, where liquid-crystalline phases appear due to interionic interactions and two or more metatectic equilibria exist.

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