Nonlinear rheological properties of chiral crystal cholesteryl oleyl carbonate (COC) in blue phase III (BPIII) were investigated under different shear deformations: large amplitude oscillatory shear, step shear deformation, and continuous shear flow. Rheology of the liquid crystal is significantly affected by structural rearrangement of defects under shear flow. One of the examples on the defect-mediated rheology is the blue phase rheology. Blue phase is characterized by three dimensional network structure of the disclination lines. It has been numerically studied that the rheological behavior of the blue phase is dominated by destruction and creation of the disclination networks. In this study, we find that the nonlinear viscoelasticity of BPIII is characterized by the fracture of the disclination networks. Depending on the degree of the fracture, the nonlinear viscoelasticity is divided into two regimes; the weak nonlinear regime where the disclination network locally fractures but still shows elastic response, and the strong nonlinear regime where the shear deformation breaks up the networks, which results in a loss of the elasticity. Continuous shear deformation reveals that a series of the fracture process delays with shear rate. The shear rate dependence suggests that force balance between the elastic force acting on the disclination lines and the viscous force determines the fracture behavior.
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