Alignment of Colloidal Rods in Crowded Environments

Vincenzo Calabrese, Stylianos Varchanis, Simon J. Haward, Amy Q. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Understanding the hydrodynamic alignment of colloidal rods in polymer solutions is pivotal for manufacturing structurally ordered materials. How polymer crowding influences the flow-induced alignment of suspended colloidal rods remains unclear when rods and polymers share similar length scales. We tackle this problem by analyzing the alignment of colloidal rods suspended in crowded polymer solutions and comparing that to the case where crowding is provided by additional colloidal rods in a pure solvent. We find that the polymer dynamics govern the onset of shear-induced alignment of colloidal rods suspended in polymer solutions, and the control parameter for the alignment of rods is the Weissenberg number, quantifying the elastic response of the polymer to an imposed flow. Moreover, we show that the increasing colloidal alignment with the shear rate follows a universal trend that is independent of the surrounding crowding environment. Our results indicate that colloidal rod alignment in polymer solutions can be predicted on the basis of the critical shear rate at which polymer coils are deformed by the flow, aiding the synthesis and design of anisotropic materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5610-5620
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 12 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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