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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 16 (2011) pp 183-189

Flow Induced Alignment of Rodlike Objects in Suspensions

Charbel Tannous

Laboratoire de Magnétisme de Bretagne CNRS-FRE 3117, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, 29285 Brest, France,
Received May 25, 2010. Accepted May 16, 2011.

Published: 19 July 2011

Abstract. Suspensions of rodlike objects in a liquid are encountered in many areas of science and technology and the need to align or orientate them is extremely important to enhance or inhibit certain chemical reactions between them, other chemicals or with the walls of vessels holding the flowing suspension. Orientation control is feasible by altering velocity and nature of the liquid, its flow and the geometry of the channel containing the flow. In this work we consider the simplest possibility of alignment control with flow in two dimensions on the basis of the angular behaviour of rodlike objects. The simplest differential equation satisfied by the orientation probability density function is derived and its solution discussed. In addition, we show how optical measurements such as birefringence and dichroism (“Maxwell effect”) of the suspension provide a direct experimental test of alignment control.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; quantum mechanics

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