The role of fluid flow and convective steering during the assembly of colloidal crystals

David Gasperino, Linli Meng, David J. Norris, Jeffrey J. Derby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional computations of steady flows directed toward the (1 1 1) plane of a face-centered cubic (fcc) packing of spheres are carried out to assess the convective steering hypothesis, which posits that solvent flow could play a role in the assembly of colloidal crystals. The computations clearly show the kinematics of flows into and through the packing and clarify the influences of fluid inertia and particle arrangement. Results from the computations accurately describe the outcome of macroscopic experiments and are consistent with a network model applied to the microscopic, colloidal system. For the geometry considered here, flows are predicted to direct over 20% more fluid into selected positions along the surface of the packing and reinforce the tendency for ordering newly growing layers with fcc symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Crystal Growth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, under Grants CTS-0332484 and CMMI-0726958, and a Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship from the University of Minnesota Graduate School. Computational resources were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. DJN acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


  • A1. Computer simulation
  • A1. Convection
  • A1. Crystal structure
  • A1. Fluid flow
  • A3. Convective assembly
  • B1. Colloidal crystals
  • B1. Nanomaterials


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