Recent advances in shear-thickening suspension rheology suggest a relation between (wet) suspension flow below jamming and (dry) granular physics. To probe this connection, we simulated the contact force networks in suspensions of non-Brownian spheres using the discrete element method (DEM), varying the particle friction coefficient and volume fraction. We find that force networks in these suspensions show quantitative similarities to those in jammed dry grains. As suspensions approach the jamming point, the extrapolated volume fraction and coordination number at jamming are similar to critical values obtained for isotropically compressed spheres. Similarly, the shape of the distribution of contact forces in flowing suspensions is remarkably similar to that found in granular packings, suggesting potential refinements for analytical mean field models for the rheology of shear thickening suspensions.
Radhakrishnan, Rangarajan; Royer, John R; Poon, Wilson CK; Sun, Jin. (2019). Force chains and networks: wet suspensions through dry granular eyes, [dataset]. University of Edinburgh. School of Engineering.