The influence of shear on the settling velocity of a rigid particle in a viscoelastic fluid and on/near a fluid-fluid interface.

Suspensions of rigid, non-Brownian particles and viscoelastic fluids are widely used nowadays in many natural, biological and industrial processes. Examples of these suspensions are blood, paint and pharmaceuticals. Since these suspensions are widely used, the behaviour of particles suspended in a single viscoelastic fluid, as well as on/near a  fluid-fluid interface is of great interest.

When the behaviour of rigid particles suspended in viscoelastic fluids is completely understood, this knowledge could be used to optimize the hydraulic fracturing process for obtaining natural gas.

The behaviour of rigid particles on/near fluid-fluid interfaces can be used to create very stable emulsions, called pickering emulsions.

The goal of this graduation project is to create a numerical model of a rigid particle suspended in a viscoelastic fluid in a Couette flow device, as well as a model of a rigid particle in a Couette flow device containing two immiscible fluids and therefore a fluid-fluid interface. The influence of shear and elasticity on the settling velocity of the particle will be investigated for these two problems. The model will be validated by doing experimental work.