Structure and frustration in liquid crystalline polyacrylates I. Bulk behaviour
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The phase behaviour and structure are reported of a new type of frustrated side-chain liquid crystalline (LC) polymer, a polyacrylate with phenylbenzoate mesogenic side groups and a narrow polydispersity. At a high degree of polymerisation the LC polymers show a nematic, a smectic-Ad, a re-entrant nematic and a C phase, for shorter chains only a nematic and a C phase. This constitutes a new example of nematic re-entrance for which the driving field is the length of the polymer chain. The smectic-Ad layers consist of partially overlapped side groups while in the C phase the side chains are rearranged into chevron-like blocks of bilayers. We propose an explanation of the frustrated phase behaviour in terms of these two different competing length scales and their coupling to the backbone conformations.
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