research lines

Complex Flows and Complex Fluids

. Science of Matter

Complex fluids are seemingly homogeneous at macroscopic scale, but they are disordered at the microscopic scale and possess structure at intermediate scales. As a result their deformation and flow response to external solicitations is usually very different from that of conventional liquids and solids. Examples of complex fluids include polymeric melts or solutions, glasses, gels and foams. Complex fluids are ubiquitous in industry (e.g. in food and cosmetics) and in living organisms (e.g. blood and mucus).

Researchers at UBICS study hydrodynamic flows in complex scenarios that involve both Newtonian and complex fluids, and either bulk or interfacial instabilities such as vortex ring formation and viscous fingering. Combining experimental work, statistical analysis and theoretical modeling, they also explore the morphological and dynamic properties of two-phase displacements in disordered media, in which scale-invariance, non-Gaussian velocity fluctuations, avalanches, and intermittency can be observed. Current lines of research include the study of (i) the origin of instabilities (vortex ring formation and elastic turbulence) in the oscillatory pipe flow of non-Newtonian fluids, and (ii) the basic mechanism behind hysteresis in drainage/imbibition displacements in laboratory models of single pores.