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Tunable Shear Thickening in Suspensions

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10774–10778
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number39
Early online date12 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2016


Shear thickening, an increase of viscosity with shear rate, is a ubiq- uitous phenomena in suspended materials that has implications for broad technological applications. Controlling this thickening behav- ior 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 tuning 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, al- lowing 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 sim- ply 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 controlled.

    Research areas

  • rheology, colloidal suspensions, shear thickening, flow control, NON-BROWNIAN SUSPENSIONS, SUPERPOSITION MEASUREMENTS, DENSE SUSPENSIONS, FLUID

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