, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 159-164

Gravitational compression of colloidal gels

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We study the compression of depletion gels under the influence of a gravitational stress by monitoring the time evolution of the gel interface and the local volume fraction, \( \phi\) , inside the gel. We find \( \phi\) is not constant throughout the gel. Instead, there is a volume fraction gradient that develops and grows along the gel height as the compression process proceeds. Our results are correctly described by a non-linear poroelastic model that explicitly incorporates the \( \phi\) -dependence of the gravitational, elastic and viscous stresses acting on the gel.