A unified, nonlinear, hydrodynamic theory of liquid crystals is presented. The theory makes use of the balance laws of micropolar continuum mechanics. New strain and rate measures appropriate to liquid crystals and suspensions are introduced. The nonlinear constitutive equations are obtained for the nematic and cholesteric liquid crystals employing these measures and the micro-inertia tensor. The thermodynamic restrictions are studied in detail. The relation of the theory to the director theory is established. The solution is given for the shear flow of nematic liquids in a channel.
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