Signatures of elastoviscous buckling in the dilute rheology of stiff polymers.

Chakrabarti B., Liu Y., du Roure O., Lindner A. and Saintillan D.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 2021. 919 A12.

As a stiff polymer tumbles in shear flow, it experiences compressive viscous forces that can cause it to buckle and undergo a sequence of morphological transitions with increasing flow strength. We use numerical simulations to uncover the effects of these transitions on the steady shear rheology of a dilute suspension of stiff polymers. Our results agree with classic scalings for Brownian rods in relatively weak flows but depart from them above the buckling threshold. Signatures of elastoviscous buckling include enhanced shear thinning and an increase in the magnitude of normal stress differences. We discuss our findings in the light of past work on rigid Brownian rods and non-Brownian elastic fibres and highlight the subtle role of thermal fluctuations in triggering instabilities.

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