Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Gao, T., Hu, H. H., & Ponte Castañeda, P. (2011). Rheology of a suspension of elastic particles in a viscous shear flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 687, 209-237. doi: 10.1017/jfm.2011.347

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In this paper we consider a suspension of elastic solid particles in a viscous liquid. The particles are assumed to be neo-Hookean and can undergo finite elastic deformations. A polarization technique, originally developed for analogous problems in linear elasticity, is used to establish a theory for describing the finite-strain, time-dependent response of an ellipsoidal elastic particle in a viscous fluid flow under Stokes flow conditions. A set of coupled, nonlinear, first-order ODEs is obtained for the evolution of the uniform stress fields in the particle, as well as for the shape and orientation of the particle, which can in turn be used to characterize the rheology of a dilute suspension of elastic particles in a shear flow. When applied to a suspension of cylindrical particles with initially circular cross-section, the theory confirms the existence of steady-state solutions, which can be given simple analytical expressions. The two-dimensional, steady-state solutions for the particle shape and orientation, as well as for the effective viscosity and normal stress differences in the suspension, are in excellent agreement with direct numerical simulations of multiple-particle dispersions in a shear flow obtained by using an arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian (ALE) finite element method (FEM) solver. The corresponding solutions for the evolution of the microstructure and the rheological properties of suspensions of initially spherical (three-dimensional) particles in a simple shear flow are also obtained, and compared with the results of Roscoe (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 28, 1967, pp. 273–293) in the steady-state regime. Interestingly, the results show that sufficiently soft elastic particles can be used to reduce the effective viscosity of the suspension (relative to that of the pure fluid).


particle/fluid flow, rheology, viscoelasticity



Date Posted: 29 August 2013

This document has been peer reviewed.