Reversible and dissipative macroscopic contributions to the stress tensor: Active or passive?
Theoretische Physik III, Universität Bayreuth, 95440, Bayreuth, Germany
2 Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, 55021, Mainz, Germany
3 Department of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Accepted: 29 August 2014
Published online: 26 September 2014
The issue of dynamic contributions to the macroscopic stress tensor has been of high interest in the field of bio-inspired active systems over the last few years. Of particular interest is a direct coupling (“active term”) of the stress tensor with the order parameter, the latter describing orientational order induced by active processes. Here we analyze more generally possible reversible and irreversible dynamic contributions to the stress tensor for various passive and active macroscopic systems. This includes systems with tetrahedral/octupolar order, polar and non-polar (chiral) nematic and smectic liquid crystals, as well as active fluids with a dynamic preferred (polar or non-polar) direction. We show that it cannot a priori be seen, neither from the symmetry properties of the macroscopic variables involved, nor from the structure of the cross-coupling contributions to the stress tensor, whether the system studied is active or passive. Rather, that depends on whether the variables that give rise to those cross-couplings in the stress tensor are driven or not. We demonstrate that several simplified descriptions of active systems in the literature that neglect the necessary counter term to the active term violate linear irreversible thermodynamics and lead to an unphysical contribution to the entropy production.
Key words: Soft Matter: Liquid crystals
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2014