A much more dynamic twisting and untwisting process discovered in polymers could help explain crystal growth and liquid crystal behavior.
Conventionally, crystal growth is seen as a process involving collections of individual atoms, molecules, or small clusters aggregating to form larger regular blocks that remain in fixed translational relationship. However, chemists at New York University and Russia’s St. Petersburg State University have investigated hippuric acid crystals that can twist and untwist, which points to a much more complicated process of crystallization.
The research might help to explain the behavior of materials as diverse as synthetic clothing fibers and the liquid crystals in electronic displays.
- Reversible Twisting during Helical Hippuric Acid Crystal Growth
A. G. Shtukenberg, J. Freudenthal, B. Kahr,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132(27), 9341-9349.