Table of Contents
Journal of Thermodynamics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 153854, 10 pages
Research Article

Shear Thickening in Concentrated Soft Sphere Colloidal Suspensions: A Shear Induced Phase Transition

1Technische Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Strasse 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
2Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, Netherlands

Received 26 September 2014; Accepted 17 December 2014

Academic Editor: Brian J. Edwards

Copyright © 2015 Joachim Kaldasch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A model of shear thickening in dense suspensions of Brownian soft sphere colloidal particles is established. It suggests that shear thickening in soft sphere suspensions can be interpreted as a shear induced phase transition. Based on a Landau model of the coagulation transition of stabilized colloidal particles, taking the coupling between order parameter fluctuations and the local strain-field into account, the model suggests the occurrence of clusters of coagulated particles (subcritical bubbles) by applying a continuous shear perturbation. The critical shear stress of shear thickening in soft sphere suspensions is derived while reversible shear thickening and irreversible shear thickening have the same origin. The comparison of the theory with an experimental investigation of electrically stabilized colloidal suspensions confirms the presented approach.