Population-balance description of shear-induced clustering, gelation and suspension viscosity in sheared DLVO colloids

Soft Matter
Marco LattuadaMassimo Morbidelli

Abstract

Application of shear flow to charge-stabilized aqueous colloidal suspensions is ubiquitous in industrial applications and as a means to achieve controlled field-induced assembly of nanoparticles. Yet, applying shear flow to a charge-stabilized colloidal suspension, which is initially monodisperse and in quasi-equilibrium leads to non-trivial clustering phenomena (and sometimes to a gelation transition), dominated by the complex interplay between DLVO interactions and shear flow. The quantitative understanding of these strongly nonequilibrium phenomena is still far from being complete. By taking advantage of a recent shear-induced aggregation rate theory developed in our group, we present here a systematic numerical study, based on the governing master kinetic equation (population-balance) for the shear-induced clustering and breakup of colloids exposed to shear flow. In the presence of sufficiently stable particles, the clustering kinetics is characterized by an initial very slow growth, controlled by repulsion. During this regime, particles are slowly aggregating to form clusters, the reactivity of which increases along with their size growth. When their size reaches a critical threshold, a very rapid, explosive-like growth fo...Continue Reading

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