Sheared active fluids: Thickening, thinning, and vanishing viscosity

Luca Giomi, Tanniemola B. Liverpool, M. Cristina Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


We analyze the behavior of a suspension of active polar particles under shear. In the absence of external forces, orientationally ordered active particles are known to exhibit a transition to a state of nonuniform polarization and spontaneous flow. Such a transition results from the interplay between elastic stresses, due to the liquid crystallinity of the suspension, and internal active stresses. In the presence of an external shear, we find an extremely rich variety of phenomena, including an effective reduction (increase) in the apparent viscosity depending on the nature of the active stresses and the flow-alignment property of the particles, as well as more exotic behaviors such as a nonmonotonic stress-strain-rate relation and yield stress for large activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051908
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 6 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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