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Key Experiments From The 2000 National Educators Workshop

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.666.1 - 6.666.55



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James Masi

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Experiments in Liquid Crystals: Different States and Devices James V. Masi Northeast Center for Telecommunications Technologies Springfield, MA 01105


A thermotropic liquid crystalline state occurs in certain materials, in a temperature region between the solid and liquid (isotropic) states. The material in this region possesses some properties of both liquids and solids. The anisotropies of this liquid crystal (L.C.) material gives it some of the most interesting, beautiful, and useful devices, challenged only by nature itself.

This set of five experiments shows the electrical, thermal, magnetic, optical, and mechanical properties and anomalies responsible for the useful effects and devices resultant from these materials. From soap to thermometers, from displays to filters, from acoustic to non-linear devices, liquid crystals and the experiments one can easily do will make this experience a useful and entertaining one. Demonstrations, hands-on tests, and samples will be included in these experiments . Key Words: Liquid crystals, displays, thermotropic, nematic, liquid crystal polymers.

Prerequisite Knowledge: The student should be familiar with the basics of materials science, metallography, and chemistry. Levels at which these experiments are performed are second semester junior year and either semester senior year. The students are first given lectures the properties of materials including organic liquid crystals and polymer liquid crystals (PLCs). They should have already had a laboratory experiment on metallography and sample preparation.

I. Objectives

The objectives of these experiments are to show how the unique properties of liquid crystals lend themselves to applications involving thermal, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties and how they are incorporated in a variety of devices. These experiments contain all of the elements of good design, with the caveat that a novelty in structure is sometimes a part of design. The students learn the process of designing materials for the world of telecommunications, analyze those already used, and suggest possible solutions to the problems involved with present technology.

II. Equipment and Supplies

(1) Metallurgical preparation and polishing apparatus (eg. Buehler Co., Port Washington, NY).

Masi, J. (2001, June), Key Experiments From The 2000 National Educators Workshop Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9488

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