Tunable Shear Thickening in Suspensions

  • Neil Lin (Creator)
  • Chris Ness (Creator)
  • Michael Cates (Creator)
  • Jin Sun (Creator)
  • Itai Cohen (Creator)



Shear thickening, an increase of viscosity with shear rate, is a ubiquitous phenomena in suspended materials that has implications for broad technological applications. Controlling this thickening behavior remains a major challenge and has led to empirical strategies ranging from altering the particle surfaces and shape to modifying the solvent properties. However, none of these methods allow for active control of flow properties during shear itself. Here, we demonstrate that by strategic imposition of a high-frequency and low-amplitude shear perturbation orthogonal to the primary shearing flow, we can largely eradicate shear thickening. The orthogonal shear effectively becomes a regulator for controlling thickening in the suspension, allowing the viscosity to be reduced by up to two decades on demand. In a separate setup, we show that such effects can be induced by simply agitating the sample transversely to the primary shear direction. Overall, the ability of in situ manipulation of shear thickening paves a route towards creating materials whose mechanical properties can be actively controlled.

Data Citation

Lin, Neil; Ness, Christopher; Cates, Mike; Sun, Jin; Cohen, Itai. (2016). Tunable Shear Thickening in Suspensions, [dataset]. University of Edinburgh, School of Engineering. http://dx.doi.org/10.7488/ds/1445.
Date made available21 Jul 2016
PublisherEdinburgh DataShare

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