A system undergoing sol–gel transition passes through a unique point, known as the critical gel state, where it forms the weakest space spanning percolated network. We investigate the nonlinear viscoelastic behavior of a colloidal dispersion at the critical gel state using large amplitude oscillatory shear rheology. The colloidal gel at the critical point is subjected to oscillatory shear flow with increasing strain amplitude at different frequencies. We observe that the first harmonic of the elastic and viscous moduli exhibits a monotonic decrease as the material undergoes a linear to nonlinear transition. We analyze the stress waveform across this transition and obtain the nonlinear moduli and viscosity as a function of frequency and strain amplitude. The analysis of the nonlinear moduli and viscosities suggests intracycle strain stiffening and intracycle shear thinning in the colloidal dispersion. Based on the insights obtained from the nonlinear analysis, we propose a potential scenario of the microstructural changes occurring in the nonlinear region. We also develop an integral model using the time-strain separable Kaye–Bernstein–Kearsley–Zapas constitutive equation with a power-law relaxation modulus and damping function obtained from experiments. The proposed model with a slight adjustment of the damping function inferred using a spectral method, compares well with experimental data at all frequencies.
Large amplitude oscillatory shear study of a colloidal gel near the critical state
Present address: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA.
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on Colloidal Gels.
Khushboo Suman, Sachin Shanbhag, Yogesh M. Joshi; Large amplitude oscillatory shear study of a colloidal gel near the critical state. J. Chem. Phys. 7 February 2023; 158 (5): 054907. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0129416
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