Slip on a particle surface as the possible origin of shear thinning in non-Brownian suspensions
Concentrated suspensions of non-Brownian particles exhibit a decrease in their viscosity with the increasing shear rate, a phenomenon called shear thinning. We present a possible explanation for this long-standing problem based on recent advances in the connection between the slip on the surface of the particles and the suspension viscosity. By expressing the energy dissipation between a pair of particles as a function of the local shear rate, it is possible to directly link the decrease of the viscosity with the shear rate to the slip of solvent molecules on the particle surface. Good agreement with various experimental data suggests that the surface slip might be important for the rheology of suspensions. The implications of this idea are relevant for a broad spectrum of applications as they show that not only the bulk properties, but also the properties of the solid–liquid interface are crucial for the flow in crowded systems.