Thixotropic spectra and Ashby-style charts for thixotropy

Samya Sen, Randy H. Ewoldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is no universal model for thixotropy, and comparing thixotropic effects between different fluids is a subtle yet challenging problem. We introduce a generalized (model-insensitive) framework for comparing thixotropic properties based on thixotropic spectra. A superposition of exponential stress modes distributed over thixotropic time scales is used to quantify buildup and breakdown times and mode strengths in response to step-change input. This mathematical framework is tested with several experimental step-shear rate data on colloidal suspensions. Low-dimensional metrics based on moments of the distribution reveal characteristic average thixotropic properties, which are visualized on Ashby-style diagrams. This method outlines a framework for describing thixotropy across a diverse range of microstructures, supporting scientific studies as well as material selection for engineering design applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1053
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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