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Thixotropy

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Look up thixotropy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Thixotropy is the property of certain gels or fluids that are thick (viscous) under normal
conditions, but flow (become thin, less viscous) over time when shaken, agitated, or otherwise
stressed. In more technical language: some non-Newtonian pseudoplastic fluids show a time-
dependent change in viscosity; the longer the fluid undergoes shear stress, the lower its viscosity.
A thixotropic fluid is a fluid which takes a finite time to attain equilibrium viscosity when
introduced to a step change in shear rate. However, this is not a universal definition; the term is
sometimes applied to pseudoplastic fluids without a viscosity/time component. Many gels and
colloids are thixotropic materials, exhibiting a stable form at rest but becoming fluid when
agitated.
The distinction between a thixotropic fluid and a shear thinning fluid:
• A thixotropic fluid displays a decrease in viscosity over time at a constant shear rate.
• A shear thinning fluid displays decreasing viscosity with increasing shear rate.
Some fluids are anti-thixotropic: constant shear stress for a time causes an increase in viscosity
or even solidification. Constant shear stress can be applied by shaking or mixing. Fluids which
exhibit this property are usually called rheopectic. They are much less common.

Contents
[hide]
• 1 Natural examples
• 2 Applications
• 3 Misconceptions
• 4 Etymology
• 5 See also
• 6 References

[edit] Natural examples


Some clays are thixotropic, with their behavior of great importance in structural and geotechnical
engineering. In earthquake zones, clay-like ground can exhibit characteristics of liquefaction
under the shaking of a tremor, greatly affecting earth structures and buildings. Landslides, such
as those common in the cliffs around Lyme Regis, Dorset and in the Aberfan slag heap disaster
in Wales are evidence of this phenomenon. Similarly, a lahar is a mass of earth liquefied by a
volcanic event, which rapidly solidifies once coming to a rest.
Drilling muds used in geotechnical applications can be thixotropic. Honey from honey bees may
also exhibit this property under certain conditions.
Another example of a thixotropic fluid is the synovial fluid found in joints between some bones.
The ground substance in the human body is thixotropic, as is semen. [1]
Some clay deposits found in the process of exploring caves exhibit thixotropism: an initially
solid-seeming mudbank will turn soupy and yield up moisture when dug into or otherwise
disturbed. These clays were deposited in the past by low-velocity streams which tend to deposit
fine-grained sediment.
[edit] Applications
Thread-locking fluid is a thixotropic adhesive that cures anaerobically.
Thixotropy has been proposed as a scientific explanation of blood liquification "miracles" such
as that of Saint Januarius in Naples.[2]
Semi-solid casting processes such as thixomoulding use the thixotropic property of some alloys
(mostly light metals) (bismuth). Within certain temperature ranges, with appropriate preparation,
an alloy can be put into a semi-solid state, which can be injected with less shrinkage and better
overall properties than by normal injection molding.
Solder pastes used in electronics manufacturing printing processes are thixotropic materials.
Many kinds of inks—used in silkscreen textile printing—made from plastisol, exhibit thixotropic
qualities. Some, such as those used in CMYK-type process printing, are designed to quickly
regain viscosity once they are applied to protect the structure of the dots for accurate color
reproduction. This is a sort of reverse thixotropy.
The ink developed for the Fisher space pen is a visco-elastic, thixotropic ink, with a consistency
similar to that of very thick rubber cement, flows as a result of the shearing action of the rolling
ball in its socket. This shearing action liquefies the solid gel thixotropic ink, allowing the pen to
write smoothly and dependably on most surfaces and even underwater.[3]
[edit] Misconceptions
Toothpaste, ketchup, and paint are frequently mis-labeled as being thixotropic materials. In
reality, these are often pseudoplastic or "shear thinning". The viscosity of these materials
decrease under increasing shear rate, not increasing time.[dubious – discuss] When squeezed out of a
tube, toothpaste flows easily but will set-up on the toothbrush. When shaken or squeezed out of a
bottle, ketchup will thin and flow readily but will retain its shape on a burger or plate. When
modern paints are applied the shear created by the brush or roller will allow them to thin and wet
out the surface evenly. Once applied the paints regain their higher viscosity which avoids drips
and runs.
Clutch-type automatic transmissions do not use fluids with thixotropic properties. The oil in
automatic transmissions is used solely for hydraulic actuation and there are no thixotropic
properties used in the process of gear change or actuation of clutch packs.
[edit] Etymology
The word comes from Greek thixis, touch (from thinganein, to touch) + -tropy, -tropous, from
Greek -tropos, of turning, from tropos, changeable, from trepein, to turn.
[edit] See also
• Pseudoplastic
• Aberfan disaster
• Rheopexy (antonym)
• dilatant (antonym)[2][3]
• Kaye effect
• polymer
• Silly putty
• Shear thinning
• viscosity
[edit] References
1. ^ Hendrickson, T: "Massage for Orthopedic Conditions", page 9. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,
2003.
2. ^ Garlaschelli, Ramaccini, Della Sala, "The Blood of St. Januarius", Chemistry in Britain 30.2,
(1994:123)
3. ^ [1]
• Reiner, M., and Scott Blair, Rheology terminology, in Rheology, Vol. 4 pp. 461, (New York:
Achedemic Press, 1967)
• Dam break wave of thixotropic fluid in Journal Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 132, No. 3, pp.
280-293
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Topics in geotechnical engineering

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Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thixotropy"
Categories: Continuum mechanics | Fluid dynamics | Non-Newtonian fluids | Soil mechanics |
Soil physics
Hidden categories: All accuracy disputes | Articles with disputed statements from January 2010
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• This page was last modified on 18 March 2010 at 10:40.


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