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Access Type

Campus Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Particle Image Velocimetry, Flow Induced Birefringence, Dynamic Stability, Elastic Instability


Solutions of self-assembled wormlike micelles are used with ever increasing frequency in a multitude of consumer products ranging from cosmetic to industrial applications. Owing to the wide range of applications, flows of interest are often complex in nature; exhibiting both extensional and shear regions that can make modeling and prediction both challenging and valuable. Adding to the complexity, the micellar dynamics are continually changing, resulting in a number of interesting phenomena, such as shear banding and extensional flow instabilities. Presented in this thesis are the results of an investigation into the flow fields generated by both a controllable and idealized porous media, effected as a periodic array of cylinders as well as a single circular cylinder. In order to fully characterize the kinematics, two rheologically documented test fluids were used. The first test channel geometry consists of six equally spaced cylinders, arranged perpendicular to the flow, while the second consists of a single circular cylinder. By systematically varying the Deborah number, the flow kinematics, stability and pressure drop were measured. A combination of particle image velocimetry in conjunction with flush mount pressure transducers were used to characterize the flow, while flow induced birefringence measurements were used to determine micelle deformation and alignment. In the periodic geometry, the pressure drop was found to decrease initially due to the shear thinning of the test fluid, and then exhibit a dramatic upturn as other elastic effects begin to dominate in one of the test fluids. In the case of the single cylinder, no such upturn was observed. Presented is evidence of the onset of an elastic instability in one of the test fluids above a critical Deborah number, manifest in fluctuating transient pressure drop measurements and asymmetric streamlines. This instability was observed in both test geometries. It is argued that this instability can be attributed to the measurable differences in the extensional rheology of the two fluids.


First Advisor

Jonathan P. Rothstein