Flow of a thixotropic or antithixotropic fluid in a slowly varying channel: the weakly advective regime

David Pritchard, Stephen K. Wilson, Catriona R. McArdle

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A general formulation of the governing equations for the slow, steady, two-dimensional flow of a thixotropic or antithixotropic fluid in a channel of slowly varying width is described. These equations are equivalent to the equations of classical lubrication theory for a Newtonian fluid, but incorporate the evolving microstructure of the fluid, described in terms of a scalar structure parameter. We demonstrate how the lubrication equations can be further simplified in the weakly advective regime in which the advective Deborah number is comparable to the aspect ratio of the flow, and present illustrative analytical and semi-analytical solutions for particular choices of the constitutive and kinetic laws, including a purely viscous Moore-Mewis-Wagner model and a regularised viscoplastic Houska model. The lubrication results also allow the calibration and validation of cross-sectionally averaged, or otherwise reduced, descriptions of thixotropic channel flow which provide a first step towards models of thixotropic flow in porous media, and we employ them to explain why such descriptions may be inadequate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-157
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Early online date4 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016



  • thixotropic fluid
  • antithixotropic fluid
  • slowly varying channel
  • lubrication theory
  • structure parameter
  • weakly advective regime

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