Performance tuning of giant electrorheological fluids by interfacial tailoring†
Giant electrorheological (GER) fluids exhibit a high yield stress due to saturation surface polarization from contact between neighboring particles. To fine-tune the competitive performance of GER fluids, we modified the surface of the GER particles by adding silicone polyether, which strongly adsorbed at the solid–liquid interface and significantly influenced the dispersion, GER effect and electrical current density of the GER fluid. We discovered that a small amount of silicone polyether could improve the dispersion and reduce the electrical current density of the fluid. However, the steric hindrance effect suppressed the GER performance. Ultimately, an optimal solution was obtained by making tradeoffs among the dispersion, current density, viscosity, anti-sedimentation and ER effect. These tradeoffs were effective because they provided repetitive stability and wide opportunities for industrial usage.