A new homologous series of side-chain liquid crystal polymers, the poly[ω-(4-cyanoazobenzene-4′-oxy)alkyl methacrylate]s, have been prepared in which the length of the flexible alkyl spacer is varied from 3 to 12 methylene units. All the polymers exhibit liquid crystalline behaviour; specifically, crystal E, smectic A and nematic phases are observed. The glass transition temperatures decrease on increasing spacer length before reaching a limiting value at ca. 30°C. The clearing temperatures exhibit an odd-even effect on varying the length and parity of the spacer. This is attributed to the change in the average shape of the side chain as the parity of the spacer is varied. This rationalization also accounts for the observed alternation in the entropy change associated with the clearing transition. A weak relaxation is observed rheologically for several members of this polymer series at temperatures above their respective glass transition temperatures. This is attributed either to specific motions of the smectic layers or to 180° reorientational jumps of the long axis of the mesogenic unit about the polymer backbone.
- Side chain liquid crystal polymers
- Transitional behaviour