Introduction to pattern formation and fluid dynamics of
liquid crystals
Jim Gleeson
Department of Physics
Kent State University


Liquid crystals, as anisotropic fluids, represent an excellent model system for the study of both as formation outside of equilibrium and turbulence on the microscopic scale.  In this talk, after a brief review of what makes liquid crystals so special, I discuss some highly varied examples of spontaneous structure formation.  These are presented in the context of their similarity with buoyancy driven convection in simple fluids.  Measurements of the rate of energy dissipation during flow of liquid crystals are presented as a powerful, quantitative tool to not only test theoretical predictions but also reveal new phenomena.