A Theoretical and Experimental Pattern Analysis of Electrohydrodynamic Convection in a Liquid Crystal System

Matthew Fritz Schmitthenner


Patterns formed by the electrohydrodynamic convection (EHC) of a liquid crystal system were analyzed experimentally and through a computational model. For the experimental liquid crystal system, a setup consisting of a circuit to sup- ply and measure voltage, a microscope mounted with a camera, a temperature controlled heating stage and a computer to collect data was assembled. A sim- ulation of the Generalized Swift-Hohenberg equation was created using a finite difference method to solve the partial derivatives. The liquid crystal experiment found the transition parameters between non EHC and EHC behavior for two novel shaped liquid crystal materials, RB1115 and RB1189, synthesized at Kent State University. The transition between dynamic scatter modes was also examined using discrete Fourier transforms. The Generalized Swift-Hohenberg equation was solved in two dimensions, and the resulting pattern was interpo- lated. These two different dynamical systems produced images with comparable patterns, validating the simulation to a degree.