Modeling shear-induced particle ordering and deformation in a dense soft particle suspension

Chih Tang Liao, Yi Fan Wu, Wei Chien, Jung Ren Huang, Yeng Long Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We apply the lattice Boltzmann method and the bead-spring network model of deformable particles (DPs) to study shear-induced particle ordering and deformation and the corresponding rheological behavior for dense DP suspensions confined in a narrow gap under steady external shear. The particle configuration is characterized with small-angle scattering intensity, the real-space 2D local order parameter, and the particle shape factors including deformation, stretching and tilt angles. We investigate how particle ordering and deformation vary with the particle volume fraction φ (=0.45-0.65) and the external shear rate characterized with the capillary number Ca (=0.003-0.191). The degree of particle deformation increases mildly with φ but significantly with Ca. Under moderate shear rate (Ca = 0.105), the inter-particle structure evolves from string-like ordering to layered hexagonal close packing (HCP) as φ increases. A long wavelength particle slithering motion emerges for sufficiently large φ. For φ = 0.61, the structure maintains layered HCP for Ca = 0.031-0.143 but gradually becomes disordered for larger and smaller Ca. The correlation in particle zigzag movements depends sensitively on φ and particle ordering. Layer-by-layer analysis reveals how the non-slippery hard walls affect particle ordering and deformation. The shear-induced reconfiguration of DPs observed in the simulation agrees qualitatively with experimental results of sheared uniform emulsions. The apparent suspension viscosity increases with φ but exhibits much weaker dependence compared to hard-sphere suspensions, indicating that particle deformation and unjamming under shear can significantly reduce the viscous stress. Furthermore, the suspension shear-thins, corresponding to increased inter-DP ordering and particle deformation with Ca. This work provides useful insights into the microstructure-rheology relationship of concentrated deformable particle suspensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number435101
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 20


  • lattice Boltzmann
  • scattering
  • shear thinning
  • shear-induced ordering
  • soft particles
  • structure factor
  • suspension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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