Biaxial shear of confined colloidal hard spheres: The structure and rheology of the vorticity-aligned string phase

Neil Y.C. Lin, Xiang Cheng, Itai Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Using a novel biaxial confocal rheoscope, we investigate the flow of the shear induced vorticity aligned string phase [X. Cheng et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 2011, 109, 63], which has a highly anisotropic microstructure. Using biaxial shear protocols we show that we have excellent control of the string phase anisotropic morphology. We choose a shear protocol that drives the system into the string phase. Subsequently, a biaxial force measurement device is used to determine the suspension rheology along both the flow and vorticity directions. We find no measurable dependence of the suspension stress response along the shear and vorticity directions due to the hydrodynamically induced string morphology. In particular, we find that the suspension's high frequency stress response is nearly identical along the two orthogonal directions. While we do observe an anisotropic stress response at lower shear frequencies associated with shear thinning, we show that this anisotropy is independent of the shear induced string structure. These results suggest that for the range of flows explored, Brownian and hydrodynamic contributions to the stress arising from the anisotropic suspension microstructure are sufficiently weak that they do not significantly contribute to the rheology. Collectively, this study presents a general and powerful approach for using biaxial confocal rheometry to elucidate the relationship between microstructure and rheology in complex fluids driven far-from-equilibrium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1969-1976
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 28 2014


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