Linear and nonlinear Nusselt number measurements during
electroconvection of a liquid crystal.
Kent State University
Energy transport measurements, as quantified by the Nusselt number are shown to be a detailed, quantitative and accurate technique for characterizing electroconvection of nematic liquid crystals. This method is not only a all-purpose tool for identifying bifurcations and other transitions, but also offers a powerful discriminator for testing competing models describing the underlying mechanisms of electroconvection. In this talk, we present experimental results on a variety of different electroconvection experiments. We show how these measurements can yield direct insight into the nonlinearities present in electroconvective flow, and discuss challenges for future experiments.