The role of shear and compression in the flow of particulate suspensions


Project Leader: Anthony Stickland
Staff: Anthony Stickland, George Franks, Peter Scales
Collaborators: Richard Buscall (MSACT Research & Consulting)
Primary Contact: Anthony Stickland (stad@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: deformability; fluid mechanics; separation processes; Solid-Liquid Systems
Disciplines: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences

Suspensions of particles in liquids are omnipresent in industrial processes and consumer products. The flow and deformation or rheology of concentrated suspensions, determining their use and how they are processed, is very complex. Their bulk flow has shear rate dependent viscoelasticity and the solid and liquid phases will separate unless the solid phase resists consolidation. This project will explore several novel experimental methods for probing suspension rheology under combined shear and compressive applied loads. Quantitative descriptions of multi-dimensional suspension rheology will be developed based on the experimental results. Various suspension types will be investigated, spanning the range of fundamental behaviour. The project will enable the design, control and modelling of suspension processing in many previously intangible areas, and will have impacts on processes like pipe flow, drying and centrifugation in the ceramics, minerals, pharmaceuticals and wastewater industries.