Materials Mesomorphs and Applications


In the formative aspect, this curricular unit (UC) aims to provide students with scientific and technological knowledge about mesomorphic materials, familiarize them with various branches of knowledge (elasticity, fluid rheology, crystalline defects, phase transitions), develop their ability to interdisciplinary reasoning and relationship and awakening skills for scientific creation and technological innovation. In terms of information, the UC aims to make students aware of the multiple potential applications of liquid crystals and bring them up to date with the latest scientific and technological progress. This course has the following pedagogical objectives: to promote interest in research on the use of mesomorphic materials in new applications; to stimulate the capacity to solve problems of a theoretical nature and of a practical, laboratory nature; group work, reports on laboratory work and their discussions.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Helena Figueiredo Godinho


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Available soon


“Condensed Matter Physics”, Gert Strobl, Springer, 2003, London.

“Nematic and Cholesteric Liquid Crystals” (Concepts and Physical Properties illustrated by experiments), Patrick Oswald, Pawel Pieranski, Taylor and Francis, 2005, NY.

“Capillarity and wetting Phenomena; Drops, Bubbles, Pearls, Waves”, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Françoise Brochard- Wyart and David Quéré, Springer, 2010, NY.

“Shapes, Nature ́s Patterns”, Philip Ball, Oxford University Press, 2009, NY.
“The Physics of Liquid Crystals”, P.G. de Gennes and J. Prost, Oxford University Press 2nd, 1993, UK.

Teaching method

Available soon

Evaluation method

Two types of lessons will be considered: Lectures (theory/practice) and laboratory. The theory/practice lectures will be complemented by the resolution of problems as well as with the analyses of different case studies based on scientific articles. The laboratory work will be performed by the students under the guidance of the teacher and focus on the different aspects of soft anisotropic materials.

Frequency in the UC is obtained laboratory classes and tests concerning the lab. work.

Theoretical-practical assessment: two tests or a final exam.

The final grade obtained corresponds to 50% of the theoretical-practical evaluation (average of the tests or exam) and 50% of the practical evaluation (average of laboratory tests).

Final grade: (T1+T2)/2 or E)*0.5+0.5*(C/3)

T1 - First Test; T2 - Second Test; E - Exam; C - Classification Laboratory Tests.

Subject matter

1. Introduction. Technological and biological importance of Mesomorphic Materials (Biological and bio-inspired materials on insect cuticles, petals and plant berries, on spider webs).

2. Anisotropic liquids; classification, molecular organization and optical properties. Degree of order. Textures and orientation defects. Experimental Demonstrations.

3. Elasticity of curvature. Deformation free energy. Equations of equilibrium.

4. Confined Systems; different geometries. Experimental Demonstrations.

5. Organized liquid solutions: Liotropics (phase diagrams). Experimental Demonstrations.

6. Anisotropic Macromolecular Systems; liquid fibers and polymeric and elastomeric films. Experimental Demonstrations.

7. Dynamics; differences between an anisotropic fluid and an isotropic liquid.

8. Applications; Structural colors, Intelligent textiles, Chromatic, mechanical, optical and electro-optical sensors