• complex fluids;
  • fluid mechanics;
  • rheology;
  • dispensing;
  • capillary thinning


Rheological effects may complicate the dispensing of complex fluids, when compared to their Newtonian counterparts. In this work, fluids with tailored rheological properties have been studied using high-speed video-microscopy. The level of viscosity, the degree of shear thinning, and the elasticity have been varied independently. At low-flow rates, droplets are formed that pinch off. The drop volumes, breakup mechanisms, and times have been identified. At higher-flow rates, a continuous jet is observed, with the transition depending on the rheology of the dispensed fluid. The relevant nondimensional groups are the Ohnesorge, Deborah, and elasto-capillary number, for when viscosity, inertia, or elastic forces dominate flow. In each of these cases, the transition between dripping and jetting dispensing occurs, controlled by a critical Weber, capillary, and Weissenberg number, respectively. This set of six nondimensional groups can be used to construct an operating space and map out areas of potential problems. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 3242–3255, 2012