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URSA - Investigation of Particulate Motion in Pure Shearing Polymeric Fluids
Objective and Background
Sic'em - Modified Rheometer ConceptThis resaerch will fabricate an in-situ imaging capability to capture the motion of individual fibers suspended in a fluid within a parallel plate rheometer. The results will be used to validate and verify the physics-based constitutive models developed as part of NSF CMMI #0720339 to represent the full coupling between fiber orientation kinematics and fluid kinetics.

Injection molded plastics with discontinuous fiber reinforcements are used extensively in industry. Understanding and predicting the fiber motion is key to understanding the strength characteristics of final processed reinforced plastic. Once researchers understand how particulates move under different flow conditions, they will have the ability to predict the strength of a material thus significantly reducing the product development costs.  Coconut Suspension Undergoing ShearIn this study we have fabricated an apparatus that will allow for the viewing of particulates in different fluids under varying shear rates. Tracking the motion of these particulates is being done by the use of an optical microscope with a 10 MP 30 FPS camera. 

We are developing techniques to take the images captured in MATLAB to analyze the location and orientation of each fiber. Calibrating the viewing apparatus for viscosity measurements has been a significant concern because there is a need to know how the particle motion and density alters the observed viscosity ofSic'em - Rheometer the fluid at different shear rates in different fluids. Initial tests have shown that the viewing cell may only be off by a linear shift of an order of magnitude over the entire range of shear rates observed, and most importantly the viscosity trends observed are the same as compared those obtained using Malvern’s Pelteir Cylinder.

At the completion of this project, the goal is to capture the motion of a dilute suspension of particulates at known shear rates. Once this is known it can be combined with our in-house existing code for particulate motion to validate and refine the theoretical assumptions.
We thank Baylor University’s URSA program for their financial support of this work.
Preliminary Results
  • Developed image analysis methods to capture in-situ the fiber motion during rheological studies.
  • Modified Gemini II rheometer to provide in-situ observations of particle motion.
Baylor University School of Engineering and Computer Science Department of Mechanical Engineering Sic'Em - Scientific Innovations in Composites and Engineering Materials