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Dysphagia. 1992;7(1):17-30.

Viscosity measurements of barium sulfate mixtures for use in motility studies of the pharynx and esophagus.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.


Detailed viscosity measurements have been made of barium sulfate mixtures over a wide range of viscosities for use in radiography of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. A new methodology was developed for more accurate estimation of viscosity in non-Newtonian fluids in conventional cylinder-type viscometers. As base cases, the variation of viscosity with shear rate was measured for standard commercial mixes of e.z.hd (250% w/v) and a diluted mixture of liquid e.z.paque (40% w/v). These suspensions are strongly shear thinning at low shear rates. Above about 3s-1 the viscosity is nearly constant, but relatively low. To increase the viscosity of the barium sulfate mixture, Knott's strawberry syrup was mixed to different proportions with e.z.hd powder. In this way viscosity was systematically increased to values 130,000 times that of water. For these mixtures the variation of viscosity with temperature, and the change in mixture density with powder-syrup ratio are documented. From least-square fits through the data, simple mathematical formulas are derived for approximate calculation of viscosity as a function of mixture ratio and temperature. These empirical formulas should be useful in the design of "test kits" for systematic study for pharyngeal and esophageal motility, and clinical analysis of motility disorders as they relate to bolus consistency.

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