Thixotropy in viscoplastic drop impact on thin films

Samya Sen, Anthony G. Morales, Randy H. Ewoldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use high-speed imaging to study the effect of thixotropic aging in drop impact of yield-stress fluids on precoated substrates. Our results reveal that drop splashing is suppressed for "aged"compared to "unaged"samples, indicating that thixotropic breakdown timescales during impact are long enough to affect the dynamics. We propose and test several hypotheses for modifying the dimensionless group [B. C. Blackwell, Phys. Fluids 27, 043101 (2015)PHFLE61070-663110.1063/1.4916620, S. Sen, J. Fluid Mech. 891, A27 (2020)JFLSA70022-112010.1017/jfm.2020.147] to account for thixotropic aging. The main challenge is that the steady flow properties (Herschel-Bulkley model parameters) used in the current dimensionless group cannot be defined or measured for thixotropically aged samples because any deformation inherently rejuvenates and breaks down the microstructure. We find the most suitable hypothesis is to only increase the yield stress (σy, plastic component) based on the storage modulus of aged samples, while keeping the viscous parameters (K or η∞) constant. The work reveals fundamental insight into rarely studied short-timescale flow conditions with thixotropic effects. These results are important for applications such as fire suppression or spray coating that involve complex fluids of varying degrees of thixotropic aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043301
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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