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Continuous viscosity measurement of non-Newtonian fluids over a range of shear rates using a mass-detecting capillary viscometer

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A newly designed mass-detecting capillary viscometer uses a novel concept to continuously measure non-Newtonian fluids viscosity over a range of shear rates. A single measurement of liquid-mass variation with time replaces the flow rate and pressure drop measurements that are usually required by capillary tube viscometers. Using a load cell and a capillary, we measured change in the mass flow rate through a capillary tube with respect to the time,m(t), from which viscosity and shear rate were mathematically calculated. For aqueous polymer solutions, excellent agreement was found between the results from the mass-detecting capillary viscometer and those from a commercially available rotating viscometer. This new method overcomes the drawbacks of conventional capillary viscometers meassuring non-Newtonian fluid viscosity. First, the mass-detecting capillary viscometer can accurately and consistently measure non-Newtonian viscosity over a wide range of shear rate extending as low as 1 s−1. Second, this design provides simplicity (i. e., ease of operation, no moving parts), and low cost.

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Lc :

Capillary length



\(\dot m\) :

Mass flow rate


Power-law index




Volume flow rate





Φ C :

Capillary diameter

Φ F :

Falling tube diameter


Non-Newtonian viscosity


Newtonian viscosity

γ :

Shear rate


Shear stress


Capillary tube


Entrance & and exit


Falling tube






Final or infinite


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Correspondence to Sehyun Shin.

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Shin, S., Keum, D. Continuous viscosity measurement of non-Newtonian fluids over a range of shear rates using a mass-detecting capillary viscometer. KSME International Journal 16, 255–261 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03185177

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Key Words

  • Viscosity
  • Non-Newtonian Fluids
  • Shear Rates
  • Capillary Viscometer