One way to develop small-volume rheology methods that we have used successfully is to start with existing concepts and geometries of rheometry and to then "think small." This approach ensures that we are measuring fundamental materials properties rather than quantities that are experiment and geometry specific. Examples include:
- Development of a multi-sample capillary rheometer that is based on a traditional rheometer but uses approximately 1000 times less material. Links: J Rheol, Chem Eng Sci.
- Development of nano-scale Coulter counters which can measure the properties of individual nano-particles and the effects of confinement on polymer flow. Link: Nano Letters.
- Development of a dynamic rheometer for solution characterization that uses traditional oscillating parallel plates, but is constructed in a MEMS platform. Links: Techbeat, Lab Chip.
Another way is to start with small scale phenomenology (such as flow in a droplet) and then develop a theory that connects to rheological parameters:
- Thus is born a new interfacial rheology method, using micro-fluidic devices that generate well-defined flow fields to probe interfacial properties such as interfacial tension and interfacial viscosity. Links: New J Phys, Adv Mat, Soft Matter.
National Research Council (NRC) Fellowships
- Microfluidics for characterization of complex fluids
- Modeling of complex fluids in microrheometry
- "On-a-chip" polymer processing laboratory
- MEMS rheometry
- Other NRC research opportunities are searchable
- See here, for a list of specific research objectives and questions.