Microstructure and yielding of microfiber gels

Conference Dates

July 10-14, 2016


Large aspect ratio cellulose nanofibers are able to a form poroelastic network at low volume fractions via aggregation and entanglement, forming a gel without significantly modifying viscosity[1]. The gels have a small but useful yield stress and a better ability to suspend particles than non-interacting higher volume fraction glasses[2] because the sparse fiber networks can significantly restructure at small strains. Yielding behavior can thus strongly depend on the fluid microstructure[3].

We study here deformation and yielding of aqueous cellulose fiber gels. Confocal imaging shows how gel yield stress relates to structural deformation rate because of localized network restructuring. Such response is advantageous to applications like surface coatings, nasal sprays, cosmetics, and foods. Understanding the mechanism of rate- and length-scale dependent yielding, and relating microstructure changes to bulk rheology[4], will enhance our ability to formulate, model, and design complex fluids with novel performance.


[1] - Solomon MJ, Spicer PT. Microstructural regimes of colloidal rod suspensions, gels, and glasses. Soft Matter, 6, 1391 (2010).

[2] - Emady H, Caggioni M, Spicer P. Colloidal microstructure effects on particle sedimentation in yield stress fluids. J Rheol. 57, 1761 (2013).

[3] - Joshi YM. Dynamics of colloidal glasses and gels. Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng. 5, 181, (2014).

[4] - Hsiao L, Newman RS, Glotzer SC, Solomon MJ. Role of isostaticity and load-bearing microstructure in the elasticity of yielded colloidal gels. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 109, 16029, (2012)

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