European physical journal e vol:17 issue:4 pages:447-453
The effect of silica aerosils on the kinetics of the first-order nematic-isotropic (NI) phase transition is phenomenologically described in the framework of the time-dependent Landau-Ginzburg equation. A steady-state solution to the equation is presented such that the NI interface may propagate with a solitary-like wave profile under constant quenching. The results provide a plausible basis for the interpretation of the dynamical effects of quenched disorder in the liquid-crystal systems, caused by randomly interconnected porous media, such as aerosils. In the low silica aerosil rho(s) (<= 0.1 g/cm(3)) regime, the calculated values of the interface velocity v(T, rho(s)), the interface thickness k(T, rho(s)), and the critical radius of a spherical nucleus of new nematic phase in a bulk isotropic environment, composed of polar molecules, such as 4-n-octyl-4'-cyanobiphenyl and 4-n-heptyl-4'-cyanobiphenyl shows that the effect of silica aerosils on the kinetics is reflected in a shifting of the set of temperature-dependent curves to lower temperature values.