Complex fluids are fluids that are homogeneous at macroscopic scales and disordered at microscopic scales, but possess structure on a mesoscopic length scale. For example, in polymer solutions, the intermediate length scale can be the size of a polymer chain. Some other typical examples of complex fluids are surfactant solutions such as micellar solutions and microemulsions, and colloidal suspensions such as ink, milk, foams, and emulsions. In a colloidal suspension, the mesoscopic length scale is the size of the colloid; for example, the size of bubbles in foam. The presence of a mesoscopic scale gives rise to many of the unusual properties of complex fluids arise from the presence of a mesoscopic scale. Complex fluids tend to respond strongly to applied electric or magnetic fields or flow because the intermediate structure is highly sensitive to these perturbations.
For a recent review of complex fluids, see "The New Science of Complex Fluids" by William M. Gelbart and Avinoam Ben-Shaul, J. Phys. Chem. 100, 13169-13189 (1996).
|William M. Gelbart||Charles M. Knobler||Daniel Kivelson||Andrea J. Liu||Howard Reiss|
|Robijn Bruinsma||Douglas J. Durian||Joseph Rudnick|
Comments or suggestions? Email Rebecca Nyquist. Last modified January 22, 1998.