Scientific Papers

Phys. Rev. E 108, 054602 (2023)

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A densely packed colloidal suspension, called a paste, is known to remember the direction of its motion because of its plasticity. Because the memory in the paste determines the preferential direction for crack propagation, the desiccation crack pattern morphology depends on memory of its motions (memory effect of paste). Two types of memory effects are memory of vibration and memory of flow. When a paste is dried, it usually shows an “isotropic and random cellular” desiccation crack pattern. However, when a paste is vibrated before drying and it remembers the direction of its vibrational motion, primary desiccation cracks propagate in a direction perpendicular to its vibrational motion before drying (memory of vibration). Once it flows and remembers the direction of its flow motion, primary desiccation cracks propagate in the direction parallel to its flow motion (memory of flow). Anisotropic network formation via interparticle attraction among colloidal particles in a suspension is the dominant factor affecting a paste’s memory of its motion. Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) paste remembers the direction of its vibrational motion, but not its own flow direction because Coulombic repulsion among charged CaCO3 colloidal particles prevents the formation of a network structure in a flow. For this study, we strove to assist and eliminate CaCO3 paste memory effects by adding polysaccharides. First, to characterize memory in paste, we propose a method of image analysis to quantify the strength and the direction of the anisotropy of desiccation crack patterns using Shannon’s information entropy. Next, we conduct experiments to add polysaccharide to CaCO3 paste, revealing that the addition of a small amount of polysaccharide to CaCO3 paste assists the paste in remembering its own flow motion. Findings also indicate that the addition of a large amount of polysaccharide prevents the formation of both memories of its flow and vibrational motion and eliminates the memory effects of paste. We then perform “flocculation and sedimentation” experiments to investigate the interaction among CaCO3 colloidal particles in a solution. Results show that, in an aqueous solution with low polysaccharide concentration, CaCO3 colloidal particles flocculate each other and quickly form a sediment in a short time, whereas, in an aqueous solution with high polysaccharide concentration, a longer time is necessary for flocculation and sedimentation. Because the addition of small amounts of polysaccharides to CaCO3 paste induces polymer bridging between colloidal particles as interparticle attraction, it helps to produce a macroscopic network structure which retains memory of its flow motion and thereby assists the formation of memory of flow, whereas the addition of large amounts of polysaccharides induces interparticle repulsion, which prevents the formation of memory effects of all types.

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  • Received 26 June 2023
  • Accepted 12 October 2023


©2023 American Physical Society

Nonlinear DynamicsFluid DynamicsInterdisciplinary PhysicsPolymers & Soft MatterCondensed Matter, Materials & Applied Physics

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