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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2011 Sep;84(3 Pt 1):031408. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Shear thickening and jamming in densely packed suspensions of different particle shapes.

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James Franck Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


We investigated the effects of particle shape on shear thickening in densely packed suspensions. Rods of different aspect ratios and nonconvex hooked rods were fabricated. Viscosity curves and normal stresses were measured using a rheometer for a wide range of packing fractions for each shape. Suspensions of each shape exhibit qualitatively similar discontinuous shear thickening. The logarithmic slope of the stress vs shear rate increases dramatically with packing fraction and diverges at a critical packing fraction φ(c) which depends on particle shape. The packing fraction dependence of the viscosity curves for different convex shapes can be collapsed when the packing fraction is normalized by φ(c). Intriguingly, viscosity curves for nonconvex particles do not collapse on the same set as convex particles, showing strong shear thickening over a wider range of packing fraction. The value of φ(c) is found to coincide with the onset of a yield stress at the jamming transition, suggesting the jamming transition also controls shear thickening. The yield stress is found to correspond with trapped air in the suspensions, and the scale of the stress can be attributed to interfacial tension forces which dramatically increase above φ(c) due to the geometric constraints of jamming. Using this connection we show that the jamming transition can be identified by simply looking at the surface of suspensions. The relationship between shear and normal stresses is found to be linear in both the shear thickening and jammed regimes, indicating that the shear stresses come from friction. In the limit of zero shear rate, normal stresses pull the rheometer plates together due to the surface tension of the liquid below φ(c), but push the rheometer plates apart due to jamming above φ(c).


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