Connecting particle clustering and rheology in attractive particle networks†
The structural properties of suspensions and other multiphase systems are vital to overall processability, functionality and acceptance among consumers. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the intrinsic connection between the microstructure of a material and the resulting rheological properties. Here, we demonstrate how the transitions in the microstructural conformations can be quantified and correlated to rheological measurements. We find semi-local parameters from graph theory, the mathematical study of networks, to be useful in linking structure and rheology. Our results, using capillary suspensions as a model system, show that the use of the clustering coefficient, in combination with the coordination number, is able to capture not only the agglomeration of particles, but also measures the formation of groups. These phenomena are tightly connected to the rheological properties. The present sparse networks cannot be described by established techniques such as betweenness centrality.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators