## Abstract

We study the friction drag of a spherical particle in the isotropic phase of a nematic liquid crystal close to the isotropic-nematic transition point. To describe the orientational order in the liquid crystal, the second-rank tensor order parameter Qαβ is employed. We solve the hydrodynamic equations for Qαβ and the fluid velocity υ in order to determine the friction drag. In our discussion of the friction drag, we concentrate on four parameters: the temperature, the surface order parameter, the particle radius, and the Ericksen number Er (characterizing the ratio of the viscous force to the elastic force). The temperature dependence of the friction drag agrees well with experiments that show an increasing friction drag when the isotropic-nematic phase transition is approached from above. Furthermore the friction drag increases with the surface order parameter due to the more pronounced surface nematic layer, and for larger particles it is less affected by this layer. Finally, we observe that in the range of Er we study, the friction drag is almost independent of Er although flow-induced order occurs for sufficiently large Er and surface order parameter.

Original language | English |
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Article number | 021701 |

Journal | Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics |

Volume | 72 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - Aug 1 2005 |

Externally published | Yes |

## All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics