Epifanio G. Virga

Epifanio G. Virga
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Epifanio G. Virga

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Physics - Soft Condensed Matter (5)
Mathematics - Mathematical Physics (3)
Mathematical Physics (3)
Physics - Classical Physics (2)
Physics - Biological Physics (1)

Publications Authored By Epifanio G. Virga

Paradoxes in the impact dynamics of rigid bodies are known to arise in the presence of friction. We show here that, on specific occasions, in the absence of friction, the conservation laws of classical mechanics can also be incompatible with the collisions of smooth, strictly convex rigid bodies. Read More

The celebrated work of Onsager [1] on hard particle systems, based on the truncated second order virial expansion, is valid at relatively low volume fractions and for large aspect ratio particles. While it predicts the isotropic-nematic phase transition, it fails to provide a realistic equation of state in that the pressure remains finite for arbitrarily high densities. In this work, we derive a mean field density functional form of the Helmholtz free energy for nematics with hard core repulsion. Read More

A third-order three-dimensional symmetric traceless tensor, called the \emph{octupolar} tensor, has been introduced to study tetrahedratic nematic phases in liquid crystals. The octupolar \emph{potential}, a scalar-valued function generated on the unit sphere by that tensor, should ideally have four maxima capturing the most probable molecular orientations (on the vertices of a tetrahedron), but it was recently found to possess an equally generic variant with \emph{three} maxima instead of four. It was also shown that the irreducible admissible region for the octupolar tensor in a three-dimensional parameter space is bounded by a dome-shaped surface, beneath which is a \emph{separatrix} surface connecting the two generic octupolar states. Read More

In this experimental and theoretical study, we examine the equilibrium shapes of quasitwo-dimensional twist-bend nematic (Ntb) drops formed within a planarly aligned nematic layer of the liquid crystal CB7CB. Initially, at the setting point of the Ntb phase, the drops assume a nonequilibrium cusped elliptical geometry with the major axis orthogonal to the director of the surrounding nematic fluid; this growth is governed principally by anisotropic heat diffusion. The drops attain equilibrium through thermally driven dynamical evolutions close to their melting temperature. Read More

Octupolar order is described in two space dimensions in terms of the maxima (and conjugated minima) of the probability density associated with a third-rank, fully symmetric and traceless tensor. Such a representation is shown to be equivalent to diagonalizing the relevant third-rank tensor, an equivalence which however is only valid in the two-dimensional case. Read More

We represent explicitly the excluded volume Ve{B1,B2} of two generic cylindrically symmetric, convex rigid bodies, B1 and B2, in terms of a family of shape functionals evaluated separately on B1 and B2. We show that Ve{B1,B2} fails systematically to feature a dipolar component, thus making illusory the assignment of any shape dipole to a tapered body in this class. The method proposed here is applied to cones and validated by a shape-reconstruction algorithm. Read More

For nearly two centuries the dynamics of chains have offered examples of paradoxical theoretical predictions. Here we propose a theory for the dissipative dynamics of one-dimensional continua with singularities which provides a unified treatment for chain problems that have suffered from paradoxical solutions. These problems are duly solved within the present theory and their paradoxes removed---we hope. Read More

Gliding is a means of locomotion on rigid substrates utilized by a number of bacteria includingmyxobacteria and cyanobacteria. One of the hypotheses advanced to explain this motility mechanism hinges on the role played by the slime filaments continuously extruded from gliding bacteria. This paper solves in full a non-linear mechanical theory that treats as dissipative shocks both the point where the extruded slime filament comes in contact with the substrate, called the filament's foot, and the pore on the bacterium outer surface from where the filament is ejected. Read More

The ground state of twist-bend nematic liquid crystals is a heliconical molecular arrangement in which the nematic director precesses uniformly about an axis, making a fixed angle with it. Both precession senses are allowed in the ground state of these phases. When one of the two \emph{helicities} is prescribed, a single helical nematic phase emerges. Read More

The fascinating and anomalous behaviour of a chain that instead of falling straight down under gravity, first rises and then falls, acquiring a steady shape in space that resembles a fountain's sprinkle, has recently attracted both popular and academic interest. The paper presents a complete mathematical solution of this problem, whose distinctive feature is the introduction of a number of dissipative shocks which can be resolved exactly. Read More