Letter | Published:

Pulsating flow of a plastic fluid

Nature volume 296, pages 843844 (29 April 1982) | Download Citation



It has been observed1,2 that when a polymeric solution flows through a circular pipe under a pressure gradient which varies periodically about a non-zero mean, the mean volumetric flow irate increases over that which is due to the mean pressure gradient alone. The magnitude of this flow enhancement depends on the fluid properties and is a function of the mean pressure gradient and the amplitude and the frequency of its varying component. Theoretical work1–6 has indicated that this phenomenon is due to the shear-thinning property of the polymeric fluid. More generally, the flow enhancement arises because of the non-linear relationship between the stress and the strain rate which causes the effective viscosity to decrease. Indeed, we show here that a flow enhancement is possible for a Bingham fluid7.

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  1. 1.

    & Nature 216, 366 (1967).

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    , & Nature 224, 585 (1969); Rheol. Acta 10, 517 (1971).

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    & Ind. Eng. Chem. Proc. Des. Dev. 16, 320 (1977).

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    , & J. non-Newt. Fluid Mech. 3, 237 (1978).

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    , J. non-Newt. Fluid Mech. 4, 161 (1978); Rheol. Acta 19, 285 (1980); J. Rheol. 25, 293 (1981).

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    & Rheol. Acta 19, 277 (1980).

  7. 7.

    Fluidity and Plasticity (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1922).

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  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia

    • N. Phan-Thien
    •  & J. Dudek


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