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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - Shear flow


In this chapter, we describe shear flows of suspensions. The goal here is to illustrate the connection between the particle-scale interactions and bulk suspension phenomena. At the microscopic scale, we consider the interactions of discrete particles and the resulting microstructural arrangement, while at the bulk scale the mixture is described as a continuous effective fluid. The connection between the scales is provided by the rheology, i.e. by the stress response of the bulk material. This chapter describes non-Newtonian properties as well as shear-induced diffusivity exhibited by suspensions, and presents an introduction to the relationship between these properties and the flow-induced microstructure. Irreversibility of the bulk motion seen in shear-induced particle migration demonstrates how the interplay of Stokes-flow hydrodynamics, outlined in Part I, with other particle-scale forces leads to some unexpected behavior. As we consider the average material behavior and its relation to the microscopic interactions, it is natural to apply concepts from statistical physics introduced in Chapter 5.

A number of the issues raised in this chapter are topics of active research in rheology and multiphase flow; while we provide a few references as a guide to further information on specific issues, recent reviews by Stickel and Powell (2005), Morris (2009), and Wagner and Brady (2009) provide fuller coverage of the literature.

Suspension viscosity

We have all heard that “blood is thicker than water.” Blood is, in fact, a suspension of red blood cells in a Newtonian plasma.