Numerical Simulation of the Rheological Behavior of Nanoparticulate Suspensions
Nanoparticles significantly alter the rheological properties of a polymer or monomeric resin with major effect on the further processing of the materials. In this matter, especially the influence of particle material and disperse properties on the viscosity is not yet understood fully, but can only be modelled to some extent empirically after extensive experimental effort. In this paper, a numerical study on an uncured monomeric epoxy resin, which is filled with boehmite nanoparticles, is presented to elucidate the working principles, which govern the rheological behavior of nanoparticulate suspensions and to simulate the suspension viscosity based on assessable material and system properties. To account for the effect of particle surface forces and hydrodynamic interactions on the rheological behavior, a resolved CFD is coupled with DEM. It can be shown that the particle interactions caused by surface forces induce velocity differences between the particles and their surrounding fluid, which result in increased drag forces and cause the additional energy dissipation during shearing. The paper points out the limits of the used simulation method and presents a correction technique with respect to the Péclet number, which broadens the range of applicability. Valuable information is gained for a future mechanistic modelling of nanoparticulate suspension viscosity by elucidating the interdependency between surface forces, shear rate and resulting drag forces on the particles.