Self-similar shear thickening behavior in CTAB/ NaSal surfactant solutions

Mukund Vasudevan, Amy Shen, Bamin Khomami, Radhakrishna Sureshkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The effect of salt concentration Cs on the critical shear rate γ c required for the onset of shear thickening and apparent relaxation time λ of the shear-thickened phase has been investigated systematically for dilute Cetyl-trimethylammonium bromide/sodium salicylate solutions. Experimental data suggest a self-similar behavior of γ c and λ as functions of Cs. Specifically, γ c ∼ Cs -6 whereas λ∼ Cs6 such that an effective Weissenberg number Weλ γ for the shear-thickened phase is only weakly dependent on Cs. A procedure has been developed to collapse the apparent shear viscosity versus shear rate data obtained for various values of Cs into a single master curve. The effect of Cs on the elastic modulus and mesh size of the shear-induced gel phase for different surfactant concentrations is discussed. Experiments performed using different flow cells (Couette and cone-and-plate) show that γ c, λ and the maximum viscosity attained are geometry independent. The elastic modulus of the gel phase inferred indirectly by employing simplified hydrodynamic instability analysis of a sheared gel-fluid interface is in qualitative agreement with that predicted for an entangled phase of living polymers. A qualitative mechanism that combines the effect of Cs on average micelle length and Debye parameter with shear-induced configurational changes of rod-like micelles is proposed to rationalize the self-similarity of shear induced structure formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-550
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Micelle
  • Rheology
  • Shear induced structure (SIS)
  • Shear-thickening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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