- PHYSICS OF FLUIDS Journal
- March 2022
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- Recent studies have shown the fluid of hard right triangles to possess fourfold and quasi-eightfold (octatic) orientational symmetries. However, the standard density-functional theory for two-dimensional anisotropic fluids, based on two-body correlations, and an extension to incorporate three-body correlations fail to describe these symmetries. To explain the origin of octatic symmetry, we postulate strong particle clustering as a crucial ingredient. We use the scaled particle theory to analyze four binary mixtures of hard right triangles and squares, three of them being extreme models for a one-component fluid, where right triangles can exist as monomeric entities together with triangular dimers, square dimers, or square tetramers. Phase diagrams exhibit a rich phenomenology, with demixing and three-phase coexistences. More important, under some circumstances the orientational distribution function of triangles has equally high peaks at relative particle angles 0, 𝜋/2, and π, signaling fourfold, tetratic order, but also secondary peaks located at 𝜋/4 and 3𝜋/4, a feature of eightfold, octatic order. Also, we extend the binary mixture model to a quaternary mixture consisting of four types of clusters: monomers, triangular and square dimers, and square tetramers. This mixture is analyzed using the scaled particle theory under the restriction of fixed cluster fractions. Apart from the obvious tetratic phase promoted by tetramers, we found that, for certain cluster compositions, the total orientational distribution function of monomers can exhibit quasi-eightfold (octatic) symmetry. The study gives evidence on the importance of clustering to explain the peculiar orientational properties of liquid-crystal phases in some two-dimensional fluids.