Running on Shear Thickening Suspensions

5 June 2015
Shomeek Mukhopadhyay

Shear Thickening fluids such as cornstarch and water show remarkable response under impact, which allows, for example, a person to run on the surface of the suspension. We perform constant velocity impact experiments along with imaging and particle tracking in a shear thickening fluid at velocities lower than 500 mm/s and suspension heights of a few cm. In this regime, where inertial effects are insignificant, we find that a solid-like dynamically jammed region with a propagating front is generated under impact. The suspension is able to support large stresses like a solid only when the front reaches the opposite boundary. These impact-activated fronts are generated only above a critical velocity. We construct a model by taking into account that sufficiently large stresses are generated when this solid like region spans to the opposite boundary and the work necessary to deform this solid like material dissipates the kinetic energy of the impacting object. The model shows quantitative agreement of the measured penetration depth using high speed video of a person running on cornstarch and water suspensions.

  • Mathematical Geoscience Seminar