Shear-induced topology changes in liquid crystals of the soybean lecithin/DDAB/water system
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The viscoelastic behavior of the two different liquid crystalline lamellar phases and the liquid crystalline cubic phase of the mixed soybean lecithin/DDAB system in water was studied through rheology, with mechanical parameters studied as a function of composition. The swollen or diluted lamellar region is formed by vesicles, and its characteristic flow curve presents two-power law regions separated by a region where viscosity passes through a maximum. Yield stress and shear-dependent flow behavior were also observed. The microstructure suffers transformation under shear stress, and rheological response shifts from thixotropic to antithixotropic loops. Similar theological behavior has been observed for samples in the collapsed or concentrated lamellar region, at the water-rich corner of the phase diagram. Vesicle formation may therefore occur by shearing the initial stacked and open bilayers. However, concentrated lamellar samples in the water-poor part of the phase diagram are less sensitive to shear effects and show plastic behavior and thixotropy. All lamellar samples manifest high elasticity. The dynamic responses of both lamellar topologies, i.e., vesicles and open bilayers, are comparable and exhibit an infinite relation time. The bicontinuous cubic, liquid crystalline phase is highly viscous. Its dynamic response cannot be modeled by a Maxwell model.