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Particle Motion in Colloidal Dispersions: Applications to Microrheology and Nonequilibrium Depletion Interactions


Khair, Aditya Satish (2007) Particle Motion in Colloidal Dispersions: Applications to Microrheology and Nonequilibrium Depletion Interactions. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/RWKF-E288.


Over the past decade, microrheology has burst onto the scene as a technique to interrogate and manipulate complex fluids and biological materials at the micro- and nano-meter scale. At the heart of microrheology is the use of colloidal 'probe' particles embedded in the material of interest; by tracking the motion of a probe one can ascertain rheological properties of the material. In this study, we propose and investigate a paradigmatic model for microrheology: an externally driven probe traveling through an otherwise quiescent colloidal dispersion. From the probe's motion one can infer a 'microviscosity' of the dispersion via application of Stokes drag law. Depending on the amplitude and time-dependence of the probe's movement, the linear or nonlinear (micro-)rheological response of the dispersion may be inferred: from steady, arbitrary-amplitude motion we compute a nonlinear microviscosity, while small-amplitude oscillatory motion yields a frequency-dependent (complex) microviscosity. These two microviscosities are shown, after appropriate scaling, to be in good agreement with their (macro)-rheological counterparts. Furthermore, we investigate the role played by the probe's shape --- sphere, rod, or disc --- in microrheological experiments.

Lastly, on a related theme, we consider two spherical probes translating in-line with equal velocities through a colloidal dispersion, as a model for depletion interactions out of equilibrium. The probes disturb the tranquility of the dispersion; in retaliation, the dispersion exerts a entropic (depletion) force on each probe, which depends on the velocity of the probes and their separation. When moving 'slowly' we recover the well-known equilibrium depletion attraction between probes. For 'rapid' motion, there is a large accumulation of particles in a thin boundary layer on the upstream side of the leading probe, whereas the trailing probe moves in a tunnel, or wake, of particle-free solvent created by the leading probe. Consequently, the entropic force on the trailing probe vanishes, while the force on the leading probe approaches a limiting value, equal to that for a single translating probe.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:colloidal dispersions; depletion interactions; hydrodynamics; microrheology; microstructure; microviscosity; viscoelasticity
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Awards:Constantin G. Economou Memorial Prize, 2004.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Brady, John F.
Thesis Committee:
  • Brady, John F. (chair)
  • Seinfeld, John H.
  • Squires, Todd M.
  • Wang, Zhen-Gang
Defense Date:6 February 2007
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-02122007-130627
Persistent URL:
Khair, Aditya Satish0000-0001-6076-2910
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:613
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:22 Feb 2007
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 00:16

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