Takeshi Kawasaki (Nagoya University)

Discontinuous shear-thickening in Brownian suspensions

Discontinous shear-thickening in dense suspensions naturally emerges from the activation of frictional forces by shear flow in non-Brownian systems close to jamming. Yet, this physical picture is incomplete as most experiments study soft colloidal particles subject to thermal fluctuations. To characterise discontinuous shear-thickening in colloidal suspensions we use computer simulations to provide a complete description of the competition between athermal jamming, frictional forces, thermal motion, particle softness, and shear flow. We intentionally neglect hydrodynamics, electrostatics, lubrication, and inertia, but can nevertheless achieve quantitative agreement with experimental findings. In particular, shear-thickening corresponds to a crossover between frictionless and frictional jamming regimes which is controlled by thermal fluctuations and particle softness and occurs at a softness dependent P\'eclet number. We also explore the consequences of our findings for constant pressure experiments, and critically discuss the reported emergence of `S-shaped' flow curves. Our work provides the minimal ingredients to quantitatively interpret a large body of experimental work on discontinuous shear-thickening in colloidal suspensions.

Ref: Takeshi Kawasaki and Ludovic Berthier, arXiv:1804.06800.