Quasi-two-dimensional coalescence of nematic and isotropic droplets and Rayleigh–Plateau instability in flat optical cells

Abstract

We investigated the coalescence of nematic droplets in an isotropic environment and that of isotropic droplets in a nematic environment in quasi-two-dimensional geometry of a flat optical cell. Two different regimes of coalescence were found. In the circular meniscus between the nematic and isotropic regions both nematic and isotropic phases exist. As a result, two bridges form at coalescence: a nematic and an isotropic bridge. In this work, we focus on the situation when nematic wets the cell surface. The coalescence of nematic droplets starts near the cell surfaces where the droplet bridge from the nematic phase is formed. An outer bridge connecting the isotropic environment is localized in the middle of the cell. When the outer bridge gets thinner it becomes unstable and breaks up. A series of pinch-offs leads to the formation of satellite droplets. On the contrary, when isotropic droplets coalesce, the coalescence starts in the middle of the cell and breaking of the bridges occurs without instability and without the formation of satellite droplets. Breakup of the outer bridge is a new example of Rayleigh–Plateau instability in addition to actively studied transformation and breaking of filaments and stretched droplets.

Graphical abstract: Quasi-two-dimensional coalescence of nematic and isotropic droplets and Rayleigh–Plateau instability in flat optical cells

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
15 Sep 2021
Accepted
02 Nov 2021
First published
24 Nov 2021

Soft Matter, 2021, Advance Article

Quasi-two-dimensional coalescence of nematic and isotropic droplets and Rayleigh–Plateau instability in flat optical cells

P. V. Dolganov, A. S. Zverev, K. D. Baklanova and V. K. Dolganov, Soft Matter, 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D1SM01334C

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