- Phase separating colloid polymer mixtures in shear flow
- Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 40
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI)
We study the process of phase separation of colloid polymer mixtures in the (spinodal) two-phase region of the phase diagram in shear flow. We use a counter-rotating shear cell and image the system by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy. The system is quenched from an initially almost homogeneous state at very high ( 200 s(-1)) shear rate to a low shear rate (gamma)over dot. A spinodal decomposition pattern is observed. Initially, the characteristic length scale increases linearly with time. As the structure coarsens, the shear imposes a certain length scale on the structure and a clear asymmetry develops. The domains become highly stretched along the flow direction, and the domain width along the vorticity axis reaches a stationary size, which scales as approximate to(gamma)over dot(-0.35). Furthermore, on quenching from an intermediate (6.7 s(-1)) to a low shear rate the elongated structures become Rayleigh unstable and break up into smaller droplets. Still, the system eventually reaches the same steady state as was found from a direct high to low shear rate quench through coarsening.
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