Yielding the yield-stress analysis: A study focused on the effects of elasticity on the settling of a single spherical particle in simple yield-stress fluids


Fraggedakis D., Dimakopoulos Y., Tsamopoulos J.


The sedimentation of a single particle in materials that exhibit simultaneously elastic, viscous and plastic behavior is examined in an effort to explain phenomena that contradict the nature of purely yield-stress materials. Such phenomena include the loss of the fore-and-aft symmetry with respect to an isolated settling particle under creeping flow conditions and the appearance of the “negative wake” behind it. Despite the fact that similar observations have been reported in studies involving viscoelastic fluids, researchers conjectured that thixotropy is responsible for these phenomena, as the aging of yield-stress materials is another common feature. By means of transient calculations, we study the effect of elasticity on both the fluidized and the solid phase. The latter is considered to behave as an ideal Hookean solid. The material properties of the model are determined under the isotropic kinematic hardening framework via Large Amplitude Oscillatory Shear (Laos) measurements. In this way, we are able to predict accurately the unusual phenomena observed in experiments with simple yield-stress materials, irrespective of the appearance of slip on the particle surface. Viscoelasticity favors the formation of intense shear and extensional stresses downstream of the particle, significantly changing the entrapment mechanism in comparison to that observed in viscoplastic fluids. Therefore, the critical conditions under which the entrapment of the particle occurs deviate from the well-known criterion established theoretically by Beris et al. (1985) and verified experimentally by Tabuteau et al. (2007) for similar materials under conditions that elastic effects are negligible. Our predictions are in quantitative agreement with published experimental results by Holenberg et al. (2012) on the loss of the fore-aft symmetry and the formation of the negative wake in Carbopol with well-characterized rheology. Additionally, we propose simple expressions for the Stokes drag coefficient, as a function of the gravity number, Yg (related to the Bingham number), for different levels of elasticity and for its critical value, under which entrapment of particles occurs. These criteria are in agreement with the results found in the recent work by Ahonguio et al. (2014). Finally, we propose a method to quantify experimentally the elastic effects in viscoplastic particulate systems. © 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


DOI: 10.1039/c6sm00480f