Cooperativity and segregation in confined flows of soft binary glasses

T. van de Laar, C.G.P.H. Schroën, J.H.B. Sprakel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


When a suspension containing particles of different sizes flows through a confined geometry a size gradient can be established, with large particles accumulating in the channel center. Such size separation driven by hydrodynamic interactions is expected to facilitate membrane filtration and may lead to the design of novel and innovative separation techniques. For this, a wide range of particle concentrations has to be investigated, in order to clarify whether shear-induced migration can be utilized at concentrations close to or above the colloidal glass transition, where particle motion is severely hindered and hydrodynamic interactions are screened. We explore this scenario by studying the flow of binary mixtures of soft colloidal microgels, well above their liquid-solid transition, through narrow microchannels. We find that, even though the flow becomes strongly heterogeneous, in both space and time, characterized by a large cooperativity length, size segregation still occurs. This suggests that even above the glass transition shear-induced diffusion could still be used as a fractionation mechanism, which is of great relevance for process intensification purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022308
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • concentrated suspensions
  • particle migration
  • hard
  • microfiltration
  • fractionation
  • transition
  • diffusion


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