Nature Of Criticality, Structuring, And Phase Behavior Of Complex Fluids
This thesis is mainly concerned with some important properties of complex fluids, and how these properties are influenced by structures in the nano/mesoscopic scale. Short-range assembly of the constituent molecules results in an amazing variety of phase behavior in these systems. Liquid-liquid phase transitions, or transitions from a homogeneous(mixed) phase to an immiscible phase (two-phase coexistence), are the outcome of a competition between entropy and short-ranged attractive forces, and form an important part of this thesis. A rich phase behavior is uncovered by a detailed study of liquid-liquid phase transitions in a mixture of ethanol(E) and water(W), induced by the addition of ammonium sulfate(AS) ions (E and W are otherwise completely soluble in each other). This is the main motivation for choosing this system. Furthermore, experimental evidence of the presence of supramolecular association in alcohol-water mixtures [J.-H. Guo et al., Phys. Rev Lett, 91, 15401(2003)] enhances our interest to study the phase behavior in more detail. The presence of a critical point, at which there is a second order phase transition, is quite common in complex fluids. An issue which has been the subject of extensive scientific research in recent years is the influence of nano/mesoscopic structure on the critical behavior of these fluids corresponds to the Ising universality class. However, the approach to the asymptotic regime is governed by a competition between the correlation length of critical concentration fluctuations and the additional length scale arising due to structuring., which results in a crossover from the universal Ising behavior to the mean-field behavior, sometimes within the critical domain. This phenomenon of crossover criticality is presently explored in the E + W + AS system. A significant portion of the thesis presents explorations on the critical behavior in the vicinity of special critical points (SCP), which are formed by the coalescence of two or more critical points. Recentrant liquid-liquid phase transitions observed in the E + W + AS system, furnishes an unique opportunity for the realization of three SCPs – the double critical point(DCP) and the critical double point(CDP) formed by the merger of two critical points , and a critical inflection point(CIP), formed by the merger of three critical points. A CIP had not been experimentally realized prior to the studies presented in this thesis. Apart from the above studies investigations are also carried out on the conformational changes of a technologically important conducting polymer, polyethylene dioxythiophene doped with polystyrene suflonate (PEDOT-PSS), in various solvents. The electrical and optical properties of the polymer films get enhanced when solution processed with specific solvents. The experiments presented in this thesis are directed at unraveling the role of conformational modifications in the electrical and optical properties of these systems. The experimental techniques that were employed in the present studies are: Laser light scattering, small-angle X-ray scattering(SAXS) measurements and visual observations. The eoexistence surface of the system E + W + AS was determined by visual observations. Laser light scattering measurements were conducted to study the critical behavior of osmotic susceptibility (xr) of E + W + As, whereas SAXS studies were conducted to ascertain the existence, and quantify the spatial extent of the additional length scale in the two systems investigated. The main objectives of this research were: (i) to study the phase behavior of the ternary mixture E + W + AS at atmospheric pressure; (ii) to check the existence of crossover from 3-D Ising to mean-field critical behavior while moving away from Tc in this system; (iii) to determine the nature (monotonic or nonmonotonic) of crossover; (iv) to provide some insight into the origin of this crossover behavior in terms of an additional length scale characteristic of the system; (v) to understand the evolution of the critical behavior in the proximity of CDP, and DCP; (vi) to experimentally realize the CIP; and (vii) to investigate the presence of solvent-induced conformational changes in conducting polymer.
- Physics (PHY) 
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Das, Moumita (2011-08-04)
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