Effects of viscoelasticity on shear-thickening in dilute suspensions in a viscoelastic fluid
We investigate previously unclarified effects of fluid elasticity on shear thickening in dilute suspensions in an Oldroyd-B viscoelastic fluid using a novel direct numerical simulation based on the smoothed profile method. Fluid elasticity is determined by the Weissenberg number Wi and by viscosity ratio 1-β=ηp/(ηs+ηp) which measures the coupling between the polymer stress and flow: ηp and ηs are the polymer and solvent viscosity, respectively. As 1-β increases, while the stresslet does not change significantly compared to that in the β→1 limit, the growth rate of the normalized polymer stress with Wi was suppressed. Analysis of flow and conformation dynamics around a particle for different β reveals that at large 1-β, polymer stress modulates flow, leading to suppression of polymer stretch. This effect of β on polymer stress development indicates complex coupling between fluid elasticity and flow, and is essential to understand the rheology and hydrodynamic interactions in suspensions in viscoelastic media.