We present a finite element method (FEM) for computing equilibrium configurations of liquid crystals with variable degree of orientation. The model consists of a Frank-like energy with an additional "s" parameter that allows for line defects with finite energy, but leads to a degenerate elliptic equation for the director field. Our FEM uses a special discrete form of the energy that does not require regularization, and allows us to obtain a stable (gradient flow) scheme for computing minimizers of the energy. Simulations in 2-D and 3-D are presented to illustrate the method.
Louisiana State University, Louisiana State University
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