Reader Questions

Reader Question: Oswald de Waele

fyeahhexagons-deactivated201103 asks:

Could you do a quick post explaining the Oswald de Waele relationship please? Thanks!

Sure! The Oswald-de Waele relationship (a.k.a. a power-law fluid) is an attempt to generalize the relationship between shear stress and shear rate in fluids. For a Newtonian fluid, that relationship is linear:

This relationship describes many fluids–like air or water–very well. But there are plenty of non-Newtonian fluids as well, both shear-thinning (paint, shampoo, ketchup) and shear-thickening (oobleck). The Oswald-de Waele relationship approximates the behavior of these fluids using:

Generalized Newtonian fluid shear law

Values of n less than one correspond to shear-thinning (or pseudoplastic) fluids; a value greater than one is a shear-thickening (or dilatant) fluid. And n = 1 corresponds to a regular Newtonian fluid. #

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