Research Activities > Programs > Complex Fluids 2007

The Micromechanics of Colloidal Dispersions

CSIC Building (#406), Seminar Room 4122.

The Micromechanics of Colloidal Dispersions

Professor John Brady

California Institute of Technology

Abstract:   Many complex fluids are composed of (or can be modeled as) small particles dispersed in a viscous fluid where Brownian or thermal forces compete against interparticle and hydrodynamic forces to set structure and determine properties. Examples include paints, coatings, dyes, ceramic sols, foodstuffs, polymer solutions and melts, biological fluids, blood, emulsions, fluidized beds, bubble columns and even flow in porous media. A central problem is to understand and predict how these “microstructured” materials behave under flow. The task is difficult because the way in which a material responds to an external perturbation depends on the internal microstructure, and the microstructure in turn depends on the perturbation; so the two are intimately coupled. Computer simulation has emerged as a useful tool to study this two-way coupling. In these lectures I will first describe the underlying physics governing the behavior of particles in a viscous liquid and illustrate the central role of hydrodynamics. I will then discuss how the microscale interactions can be incorporated into rigorous computer simulation techniques for investigating the mesoscale properties of particulate dispersions. Finally, I will offer some suggestions as to how the mesocale behavior can provide a platform for macroscale modeling of complex fluids in complex flows.

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