Journal of physics-condensed matter vol:17 issue:4 pages:R187-R216
We review the sequences of structural states that can be induced in colloidal suspensions by the application of flow. Structure formation during flow is strongly affected by the delicate balance among interparticle forces, Brownian motion and hydrodynamic interactions. The resulting non-equilibrium microstructure is in-turn a principal determinant of the suspension rheology. Colloidal suspensions with near hard-sphere interactions develop an anisotropic, amorphous structure at low dimensionless shear rates. At high rates, clustering due to strong hydrodynamic forces leads to shear thickening rheology. Application of steady-shear flow to suspensions with repulsive interactions induces a rich sequence of transitions to one-, two-and-three-dimensional order. Oscillatory-shear flow generates metastable ordering in suspensions with equilibrium liquid structure. On the other hand, shortrange attractive interactions can lead to a fluid-to-gel transition under quiescent suspensions. Application of flow leads to orientation, breakup, densification and spatial reorganization of aggregates. Using a non-Newtonian suspending medium leads to additional possibilities for organization. We examine the extent to which theory and simulation have yielded mechanistic understanding of the microstructural transitions that have been observed.