Unit operations commonly encountered in today’s industrial sectors include mass transfer operations such as pumping, mixing, extrusion, pouring and filling, as well as storage and final use. For liquids, optimising the efficiency of the processes and the quality of the final product invariably relies on the flow properties of the processed fluid. Energy consumption by pump or mixer motors, pressure drop in piping, the shape, stability, and quality of final products is dictated in large part by the rheological behaviour of the processed fluid. Fluid related issues like sedimentation, flotation, time related structural decay or build-up and in cases where a solid-like product eventuates, post-solidification issues like strength of compression and extension are rheology based phenomena. These phenomena depend on rheological parameters such as viscosity, viscoelasticity, creep and recovery, thixotropy and yield stress, and solid material properties such as behaviour under various loading conditions. Liquid extensional properties influence processes or phenomena such as pouring, filling, tack, misting etc, where stranding occurs, influencing time, quality or energy requirements.
The Rheology Solutions applications laboratory has state of the art equipment, capable of measuring the above parameters, and of providing interpretation of the results where necessary. Laboratory equipment includes sensitive, specialised, modern instrumentation and sensor systems, for measuring complex or difficult fluids such as those with low viscosity, or those with a solid phase, or highly elastic liquids. Solids performance according to various international standards can also be monitored. Information such as shear viscosity curves, thixotropic behaviour and flow curves may be obtained for interested clients. Additionally, of importance to industry, when scientifically assessing changes in flow behaviour due to temporal or ingredient issues, viscoelastic moduli as a function of either shear rate or strain can be assessed. Structural changes under very low shear (like in the case of storage, gravity settling, cure etc) or very high shear (pumping, mixing, filling etc) are possible using the advanced equipment and sensors available at the laboratory of Rheology Solutions. These measurements may be obtained as a function of temperature, concentration, or to monitor the effects of changes in modifier/ingredient concentration.
With this information the scientist or engineer may change the process, or design new unit operations or products to maximise the potential benefits to be obtained from the physical properties of the processed fluid.
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