polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC)

research area: fluid dynamics

experiment title:

Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC)

experiment acronym: DYT

funding agency:

ESA (Education) / ZARM

grant number:

Drop Your Thesis! - Program

performing organization:

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Porto (FCUP), Portugal

prime investigator:

Dr. Carla Carmelo Rosa, Dr. Paulo Simeão Carvalho

(Ricardo André, Jorge Leitão, Ricardo Zambujal, Marta Matos)

experiment objective


A study on Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC) materials obtained from polymerizations in 0g and 1g with three different liquid crystals (LCs) was made. Physical and structural properties such as size and shape of LC droplets, light transmission, reorientation field, response time and hysteresis effects, that are very important for electro-optical applications of PDLCs, are being studied for various polymer:LC ratios, liquid crystals, and gravity acceleration during polimerization. Spatially varied droplet size samples were also produced – through the variation of UV-light intensity when polymerizing – and are being studied. The aim of this project is to study the influence of microgravity on PDLC properties in order to develop materials and techniques that will allow smaller LC reorientation fields, increased optical transmission and contrast, and reduced hysteresis. Preliminary results point to an improvement on PDLC optical transmission and contrast characteristics, with an increase in contrast of 6,8%.

related publications

  • Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (PDLC), Drop Your Thesis! 2009 - Final Report. ESA Human Spaceflight and Exploration, Erasmus Experiment Archive

experiment campaigns

experiment year: 2009
number of drops: 3