Microscopic dynamics of stress relaxation in a nanocolloidal soft glass

Yihao Chen, Simon A. Rogers, Suresh Narayanan, James L. Harden, Robert L. Leheny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) experiments with in situ rheometry performed on a soft glass composed of a concentrated suspension of charged silica nanoparticles subjected to step strains that induce yielding and flow. The XPCS measurements characterize the particle-scale and mesoscale motions within the glass that underlie the highly protracted decay of the macroscopic stress following the step strains. These dynamics are anisotropic, with slow, convective particle motion along the direction of the preceding shear that persists for surprisingly large times and that is accompanied by intermittent motion in the perpendicular (vorticity) direction. A close correspondence between the convective dynamics and stress relaxation is demonstrated by power-law scaling between the characteristic velocity of the collective particle motion and the rate of stress decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035602
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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