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Structural transitions and the rheology of soft sphere suspensions

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Landau theory is presented for the structural transition of electrically stabilized colloidal crystals under shear. The model suggests that a structural transition from an ordered layered colloidal crystal into a disordered structure occurs at a critical shear stress. The shear induced structural transition is related to a change of the rheological properties caused by the variation of the microstructure which can be verified by scattering experiments. The theory is used to establish the shape of the flow curves. A good qualitative agreement with experimental results can be achieved, while a scaling relation similar to the elastic scaling is established.
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