Viscoplasticity and stratified flow of colloid suspensions
Investigation of the rheology of concentrated colloid suspensions and direct observation of their flow allowed us to find several effects inherent to these media as typical soft matter. So, at low stress amplitudes, these colloids behave as mild gels with frequency independent elastic modulus and low mechanical losses. Meanwhile, suspensions demonstrate dualism of properties: at a given shear rate, they behave as viscoplastic media with clearly expressed yielding, while at a given low stress the pronounced Newtonian plateau is detected. The increase in shear rates and stresses leads to the sharp drop of the apparent viscosity, which usually is treated as the yielding effect. Transition through the yield stress is of a dynamic nature because the threshold stress depends on time and suspensions are thixotropic yielding materials. In the transient shear rate range, an unstable regime of deformation appears. It manifests itself either as deformation thickening up to jamming, or as the excitation of self-oscillations. The measuring of rheological properties in varying volume-to-surface ratio of a sample proves that flow of a suspension with high velocity at constant shear stress actually proceeds in a narrow layer inside the instrument gap. This conclusion has been confirmed by direct visual observations demonstrating that a flux is separated into three layers. A wide almost motionless layer is seen near a stationary surface. Near a moving surface, a narrow band with linear velocity profile is detected. Between them, a rather wide transient layer is observed and shear rate in this layer exceeds the average (global) shear rate by several times. Approximately, only a half of the total volume of a suspension is involved in flow. So, we observed a three-band flux of a suspension not described before. Shearing leads to an anisotropic structure of a solid phase.