Complex Fluids

  1. Hans Christian Öttinger

Published Online: 27 JAN 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471727903.ch4

Beyond Equilibrium Thermodynamics

Beyond Equilibrium Thermodynamics

How to Cite

Öttinger, H. C. (2005) Complex Fluids, in Beyond Equilibrium Thermodynamics, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471727903.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JAN 2005
  2. Published Print: 2 MAR 2005

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471666585

Online ISBN: 9780471727903



  • non-Newtonian flow behavior;
  • viscoelastic behavior;
  • structural variables;
  • pressure tensor;
  • configurational distribution functions;
  • polymeric liquids;
  • rheology


The power of the fully nonlinear framework becomes immediately clear when one studies complex fluids. Complex fluids have a complicated microstructure that must be accounted for through the inclusion of structural variables which quantify the dynamic response of the material's constituent components to the application of external forces. Such materials are driving new, innovative technologies, and examples include polymer melts, liquid crystals, fiber suspensions, colloids, emulsions, and other forms of soft condensed matter. Understanding of the processing of such materials is a challenge because they undergo not only the nonequilibrium transport processes of hydrodynamics, but also have the additional complication of experiencing relaxational processes. The microstructure responds on time scales that are comparable to those of the transport processes, and must be described in a similar and consistent fashion. For complex fluids of practical relevance, nonlinear flow behavior is the rule rather than the exception.