An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Pattern Formation in Fluid Mechanics

Smectic Film Electroconvection: A tempest in a soap bubble

Author: Morris, S (University of Toronto)


Smectic liquid crystals are slimy organic liquids that form submicron thick suspended films, rather like soap bubbles. These films are nearly perfect two-dimensional liquids, with uniform thickness down to the molecular scale. I will describe fluid mechanical convection experiments carried out in smectic films which are forced electrically. With gentle forcing and an applied shear, we can produce a pattern of vortices that exhibits interesting nonlinear dynamics. With strong forcing, we can study the scaling behaviour of turbulent convection.