Deformation of Non-Newtonian Fluid Interfaces Induced
by Solid Body Impacts

Current News

November 25th, 2009
The first video has been posted!

November 16th, 2009
Work is being done on our first, introductory video and will be posted on Thursday, November 25, 2009.

Our Project

Shear thickening non-Newtonian fluids rapidly increase their viscosity when placed under sudden pressure. This property opens up applications in various types of shielding. When the fluid is impacted, it becomes rigid and momentarily acts like a solid, thus dispersing the force of an impact across a greater surface area. For our experiment, we propose to study the effects of impacts to non-Newtonian fluids in microgravity environment provided by NASA's reduced gravity aircraft. Microgravity allows us to experiment in the absence of buoyancy and without additional acceleration due to gravity. During our experiment, we plan to observe how changes in projectile momentum and kinetic energy affect the behavior of the system by varying the mass and velocity of the projectile. We plan to test a variety of fluids, both on Earth and in microgravity, and then analyze differences in the data we collect. To model impacts, we will use 0.5 inch metallic spheres launched via a pneumatic device into clear plastic tubes filled with a non-Newtonian fluid . A high speed camera will measure the penetration of the projectile and record the droplet pattern created upon impact. Data collected in flight and on the ground will be analyzed post flight and will lead undoubtedly to advances in shield technology and descriptions of the behavior of non-Newtonian fluids.

Experimental Setup

Team Members