Using a minimal algebraic model for the thermodynamics of binary rod-polymer mixtures, we provide evidence for a quintuple phase equilibrium; an observation that seems to be at odds with the Gibbs phase rule for two-component systems. Our model is based on equations of state for the relevant liquid crystal phases that are in quantitative agreement with computer simulations. We argue that the appearance of a quintuple equilibrium, involving an isotropic fluid, a nematic and smectic liquid crystal, and two solid phases, can be reconciled with a generalized Gibbs phase rule in which the two intrinsic length scales of the athermal colloid-polymer mixture act as additional field variables.
We thank H. N. W. Lekkerkerker for useful discussions and suggestions. M. V. acknowledges the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for a Veni Grant (No. 722.017.005).
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