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Physics  2010 

Reversible shear thickening at low shear rates of electrorheological fluids under electric fields

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.83.011401

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Shear thickening is a phenomenon of significant viscosity increase of colloidal suspensions. While electrorheological (ER) fluids can be turned into a solid-like material by applying an electric field, their shear strength is widely represented by the attractive electrostatic interaction between ER particles. By shearing ER fluids between two concentric cylinders, we show a reversible shear thickening of ER fluids above a low critical shear rate (<1 s-1) and a high critical electric field strength (>100 V/mm), which could be characterized by a modified Mason number. Shear thickening and electrostatic particle interaction-induced inter-particle friction forces is considered to be the real origin of the high shear strength of ER fluids, while the applied electric field controls the extent of shear thickening. The electric field-controlled reversible shear thickening has implications for high-performance ER/magnetorheological (MR) fluid design, clutch fluids with high friction forces triggered by applying local electric field, other field-responsive materials and intelligent systems.


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