# Experimental and numerical study of the rotation and the erosion of fillers suspended in viscoelastic fluids under simple shear flow

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## Abstract

When a porous agglomerate immersed in a fluid is submitted to a shear flow, hydrodynamic stresses acting on its surface may cause a size reduction if they exceed the cohesive stress of the agglomerate. The aggregates forming the agglomerate are slowly removed from the agglomerate surface. Such a behaviour is known when the suspending fluid is Newtonian but unknown if the fluid is viscoelastic. By using rheo-optical tools, model fluids, carbon black agglomerates and particles of various shapes, we found that the particles had a rotational motion around the vorticity axis with a period which is independent on shape (flat particles not considered), but which is exponentially increasing with the elasticity of the medium expressed by the Weissenberg number (We). Spherical particles are always rotating for We up to 2.6 (largest investigated We in this study) but elongated particles stop rotating for We>0.9 while orienting along the flow direction. Erosion is strongly reduced by elasticity. Since finite element numerical simulation shows that elasticity increases the local stress around a particle, the origin of the erosion reduction is interpreted as an increase of cohesiveness of the porous agglomerate due to the infiltration of a viscoelastic fluid.

## Keywords

Particle rotation Erosion Viscoelasticity Rheo-optics Finite element method## Notes

### Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank M. Vincent for stimulating discussions. The work of S. Vervoort was supported by the European Socrates exchange program. The authors thank the referees for interesting comments on the interpretation of the data.

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