Rheological behavior of concentrated suspensions of chemical vapor deposition carbon nanotubes in uniaxial elongation and simple shear is studied experimentally and theoretically. Nanotubes are suspended in viscous host liquids-castor oil or its blends with n-decane. The elongational measurements are performed by analyzing self-thinning (due to surface tension effect) liquid threads of nanotube suspensions. A quasi-one-dimensional model is used to describe the self-thinning process, whereas corrections accounting for thread nonuniformity and necking are introduced a posteriori. The effects of nanotube concentration and aspect ratio, viscosity of the suspending liquid, and initial diameter of the self-thinning thread in uniaxial elongation are elucidated. The results for uniaxial elongation are compared with those for simple shear. The correspondence in the results of the shear and elongational measurements is addressed and interpreted. The results conform to the Herschel-Bulkley rheological constitutive equation (i.e., power law fluids with yield stress). However, the yield stress in elongation is about 40% higher than in simple shear flow, which suggests that the original Herschel-Bulkley model need modification with the yield stress being a function of the second invariant of the deviatoric stress tensor. The present effort is the first to study capillary self-thinning of Herschel-Bulkley liquids, which are exemplified here by suspensions of carbon nanotubes.
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