Undulation instability of lamellar phases under shear: A mechanism for onion formation?
Department of Materials and Interfaces, Weizmann Institute of Science,
Rehovot 76100, Israel
Corresponding author: a email@example.com
Revised: 4 March 1999
Published online: 15 October 1999
We consider a lamellar phase of bilayer membranes held between two parallel plates and subject to a steady shear. Accounting for the coupling with the shear flow of the short wavelength undulation modes that are responsible for the membrane excess area, we argue that the flow generates an effective force which acts to reduce the excess area. From the viewpoint of the macroscopic lamellar whose geometric dimensions are fixed, this force translates into an effective lateral pressure. At low shear rates this pressure is balanced by the elastic restoring forces of the lamellar. Above a critical shear rate , where d is the interlayer distance and D is the gap spacing, the lamellar buckles into a harmonic shape modulation, and we predict its wavelength and amplitude Uo. We show that our model is isomorphic to a dilative strain, which is known to induce a similar buckling (undulation) instability. Indeed, at threshold the wavelength is and is identical in both cases. Using a non-linear analysis, we discuss how the wavelength and amplitude vary with shear rate away from the threshold. For we find and . We then focus on the coupling of the buckling modulation itself with the flow, and obtain a criterion for the limit of its stability. Motivated by experiments of D. Roux and coworkers, we assume that at this limit of stability the lamellar breakups into "onion"-like, multilamellar, vesicles. The critical shear rate for the formation of onions is predicted to scale as . The scaling with d is consistent with available experimental data.
PACS: 64.70.Md – Transitions in liquid crystals / 61.30.Jf – Defects in liquid crystals / 68.10.Et – Interface elasticity, viscosity, and viscoelasticity
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 1999