Dynamical heterogeneity in soft-particle suspensions under shear

K. N. Nordstrom, J. P. Gollub, D. J. Durian
2011 Physical Review E  
We present experimental measurements of dynamical heterogeneities in a dense system of microgel spheres, sheared at different rates and at different packing fractions in a microfluidic channel, and visualized with high speed digital video microscopy. A four-point dynamic susceptibility is deduced from video correlations, and is found to exhibit a peak that grows in height and shifts to longer times as the jamming transition is approached from two different directions. In particular, the time
more » ... icular, the time for particle-size root-mean square relative displacements is found to scale as $\tau^* \sim (\dot \gamma \Delta \phi^4)^{-1}$ where $\dot\gamma$ is the strain rate and $\Delta\phi=|\phi-\phi_c|$ is the distance from the random close packing volume fraction. The typical number of particles in a dynamical heterogeneity is deduced from the susceptibility peak height and found to scale as $n^* \sim (\dot \gamma \Delta \phi^4)^{-0.3}$. Exponent uncertainties are less than ten percent. We emphasize that the same power-law behavior is found at packing fractions above and below $\phi_c$. Thus, our results considerably extend a previous observation of $n^* \sim \dot\gamma^{-0.3}$ for granular heap flow at fixed packing below $\phi_c$. Furthermore, the implied result $n^*\sim (\tau^*)^{0.3}$ compares well with expectation from mode-coupling theory and with prior observations for driven granular systems.
doi:10.1103/physreve.84.021403 pmid:21928990 fatcat:3mgqe5iupzcgfar6o6jtgflgei