When a liquid is confined in a narrow gap (as near a cell membrane, in a lubricated contact between solids, or in a porous medium), new dynamic behavior emerges. The effective shear viscosity is enhanced compared to the bulk, relaxation times are prolonged, and nonlinear responses set in at lower shear rates. These effects are more prominent, the thinner the liquid film. They appear to be the manifestation of collective motions. The flow of liquids under extreme confinement cannot be understood simply by intuitive extrapolation of bulk properties. Practical consequences are possible in areas from tribology and materials processing to membrane physics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas