Onset of shear thickening in a simple fluid
Equipe de Chimie et Biochimie Théoriques, UMR 7565 CNRS-UHP, Université Henri Poincaré, BP 239, F-54506, Vandoeuvre-lés-Nancy, France
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We report on nonequilibrium molecular-dynamics simulations of the shear-thickening transition in a simple fluid under shear. We relate the shear-thickening transition to the onset of instabilities in the flow profile and to that of dramatic variations in normal stress differences. The dependence of the critical shear rate, which indicates the onset of shear thickening, on density and temperature is rationalized by introducing a ratio between two characteristic times, quantifying the short-time mobility of a particle and the deformation imposed by the applied shear rate, respectively. The shear-thickening transition is shown to occur at a constant value for this ratio for all state points studied. From a structural point of view, this transition is accompanied by the formation of clusters as recently observed in experiments on complex fluids.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, and Springer-Verlag, 2004