Thermochromic liquid crystal materials change their crystalline structure and optical properties with temperature, making them useful in temperature measurement applications. This paper presents the results of a study to develop a temperature measurement system that uses light transmission through thermochromic liquid crystals instead of light reflection. We painted Hallcrest R25C10W sprayable liquid crystals on a clear surface and placed it in a spectrophotometer. The amount of light transmitted at monochromatic wavelengths from to was measured for temperatures from to under conditions of nonpolarized, linearly polarized, and cross-polarized light, for three light intensity levels, and three liquid crystal layer thicknesses. As the temperature was increased the amount of light transmitted through the liquid crystal layer increased. When the liquid crystals are in their active range the transmission spectra exhibit an -curve shape and the percent of light transmitted through the liquid crystals at a fixed temperature increases with increasing wavelength. We detected significant changes in the transmission spectra for temperatures from to , whereas when used with reflected light the thermochromic liquid crystals are useful over a significantly smaller range. As the thickness of the thermochromic liquid crystal layer increases or as the incoming light intensity decreases, the amount of light transmitted through the liquid crystals decreases. We also investigated the effects of temperature overheat on the transmission spectra and found that heating the thermochromic liquid crystals above their active range increases the amount of light transmission. However, when the liquid crystals are cooled below their active range they return to their original state. We have analyzed the spectrophotometer data in a number of ways including: (a) total amount of light transmitted, (b) amount of red, green, and blue light transmitted; and (c) spectral curve shape characteristics (peak transmission, inflection wavelength and wavelength for peak transmission) all as a function of temperature. A linear relationship exists between temperature and all of these variables which we believe can be exploited for the development of a charge coupled light camera based light transmission system for temperature measurement.
The Effects of Film Thickness, Light Polarization, and Light Intensity on the Light Transmission Characteristics of Thermochromic Liquid Crystals
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Roth, T. B., and Anderson, A. M. (June 15, 2006). "The Effects of Film Thickness, Light Polarization, and Light Intensity on the Light Transmission Characteristics of Thermochromic Liquid Crystals." ASME. J. Heat Transfer. March 2007; 129(3): 372–378. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2430724
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