Article

Vorticity banding in rodlike virus suspensions

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Physical Review E (Impact Factor: 2.33). 09/2006; 74(2 Pt 2):026307. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.74.026307
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Vorticity banding under steady shear flow is observed in a suspension of semiflexible colloidal rods (fd virus particles) within a part of the paranematic-nematic biphasic region. Banding occurs uniformly throughout the cell gap within a shear-rate interval (.gamma-, .gamma+) , which depends on the fd concentration. For shear rates below the lower-border shear rate .gamma- only shear elongation of inhomogeneities, which are formed due to paranematic-nematic phase separation, is observed. Within a small region just above the upper-border shear rate .gamma+ , banding occurs heterogeneously. An essential difference in the kinetics of vorticity banding is observed, depending on the morphology of inhomogeneities formed during the initial stages of the paranematic-nematic phase separation. Particle tracking and polarization experiments indicate that the vorticity bands are in a weak rolling flow, superimposed on the applied shear flow. We propose a mechanism for the origin of the banding instability and the transient stability of the banded states. This mechanism is related to the normal stresses generated by inhomogeneities formed due to the underlying paranematic-nematic phase transition.

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