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Issue 48, 2012
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Direct observation of particle rearrangement during cyclic stress hardening of magnetorheological gels

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Abstract

Swollen physical magneto-responsive gels were obtained by self-assembly of triblock copolymers containing dispersed soft magnetic particles. When subject to simple shear cyclic loading–unloading cycles in the presence of a magnetic field, magnetorheological (MR) gels show a stress hardening behavior. The stress-hardening was characterized by the increase of the maximum stress against the number of cycles. Most of the stress increases are achieved in the first and second cycles and only minor effects take place in the subsequent ones. The cyclic behaviour of MR gels with dilute particle volume fraction is also studied with the help of a homemade shear cell mounted on an optical microscope. Despite the difference of particle volume fraction, we are able to relate cyclic stress hardening to the change in particle–particle distribution observed directly at the microscopic scale. While anisotropic particle strings created by a pre-structuring process (original sample alignment) still has many defects, the history of simple shear in the presence of the magnetic field gradually removes the defects of the particle strings and helps them to relax towards a zipped cluster. We show here the first directly observed example of the shear-annealing effect in MR gels. The shear induced rearrangement of the particle network serves as the microscopic origins of the above mentioned cyclic stress hardening behavior of MR gels and seems to be fully reversible after the removal of the magnetic field. Results show that a slow quiescent process also takes place and it is suggested to be related to solvent flow outwards of the clusters, while they get more compact. Interestingly, all directly observed rearrangements including string breaking seem to be fully reversible after removal of the magnetic field.

Graphical abstract: Direct observation of particle rearrangement during cyclic stress hardening of magnetorheological gels

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
08 Jul 2012
Accepted
23 Oct 2012
First published
08 Nov 2012

Soft Matter, 2012,8, 11995-12001
Article type
Paper

Direct observation of particle rearrangement during cyclic stress hardening of magnetorheological gels

H. An, S. J. Picken and E. Mendes, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 11995
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26587G

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