Mapping linear viscoelasticity for design and tactile intuition

R. E. Corman, Randy H. Ewoldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose and study methods to improve tactile intuition for linear viscoelastic fluids. This includes (i) Pipkin mapping with amplitude based on stress rather than strain or strain-rate to map perception to rheological test conditions; and (ii) data reduction of linear viscoelastic functions to generate multi-dimensional Ashby-style cross-property plots. Two model materials are used, specifically chosen to be easily accessible and safe to handle, with variable elastic, viscous, and relaxation time distributions. First, a commercially available polymer melt known as physical therapy putty, reminiscent of Silly Putty, designed for a range of user experiences (extra-soft to extrafirm). Second, a transiently cross-linked aqueous polymer solution (Polyvinyl alcohol-Sodium Tetraborate, PVABorax). Readers are encouraged to procure or produce the samples themselves to build intuition. The methods studied here reduce the complexity of the function-valued viscoelastic data, identifying what key features we sense and see when handling these materials, and provide a framework for tactile intuition, material selection, and material design for linear viscoelastic fluids generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Rheology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Ashby diagram
  • Psychorheology
  • Viscoelasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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