Monday, November 30, 2009

Society of Rheology Membership

It's time for me to renew my membership in the Society of Rheology for 2010.  I would recommend membership for anyone who's interested in the study of rheology.  The cost is only $40 ($25 for students).  Membership includes 6 issues of the Journal of Rheology, 12 issues of Physics Today, and 2 issues of the Rheology Bulletin.
SOR is a small society; I'm only one of two members who live in Nebraska.  According to the online membership guide, the following states have only one member--
• Alaska
• Hawaii
• Idaho
• Nevada
• Vermont

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SOR '09 Report #2

In a previous post, I asked for feedback on the industrial roundtable discussion at last month's SOR meeting.  Nicholas Wyatt of the Colorado School of Mines writes:
I made my travel plans specifically to enable me to attend that discussion thinking that it would be a good place to meet some folks from industry. I liked the idea, but I was disappointed with the outcome. The first, and most apparent, problem I found with the discussion was that it was supposed to be an outreach to industry, but the four people on the panel all work in academia (Norm Wagner - University of Delaware, Gerry Fuller - Stanford University, Jeffrey Morris - City College of New York, Daniel Klingenberg - University of Wisconsin). Each of the panel members took a few minutes to discuss the areas of their research that have potential industrial applications. I think this would have been much more helpful and useful if the panel members had been people who work in industry who could share what they do and what impact their research has in the fields they work in. For example, there were several people who attended the meeting from DOW, Proctor and Gamble, CP Kelco, and Halliburton (among others). I think they could have provided a better picture of what it's like to do research in an industrial setting.
If anyone else has any comments on the industrial roundtable, send them along.

Update: Mr. Wyatt's last name was misspelled in the original post.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Deadly Viscoelastic Fluid

While searching around for rheology blogs, I found the blog Entertaining Research. In a 2007 post, Guru found a paper by Gaume and Fortiere that studied the viscoelastic properties of pitcher plants from Borneo. When the fluid in the plant was diluted, it was able to retain some of its insect-trapping properties. The authors attribute this to the elastic properties of the fluid and found a correlation between the fluid’s Deborah number and the effectiveness of the fluid’s ability to capture insects.

Seeking Inspiration

If anyone knows any good science or engineering blogs, you can let me know in the comments or by sending an email to the address listed at the top of the screen.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jobs Report (November)

On November 3rd, there were 32 jobs found using the keyword search "rheolog*" on  Previously, there were 30 jobs found in October and 24 in September.

Monday, November 2, 2009

UV Curing: Rheometers

All five major rotational rheometer companies sell attachments that allow users to track the performance of UV-sensitive coatings over time. If you want more information, here are links:
  1. TA Instruments
  2. Reologica (scroll down to see the UV cell)
  3. Malvern
  4. Thermo
  5. Anton Paar
At the Anton Paar website, you can also download an application note on the UV curing cell (registration required). (Disclosure: I used to work at Anton Paar, and I wrote that specific application note.) I saw an application note available at the Malvern site as well (registration required).

This entry was inspired by the post at the Rheo Thing concerning UV coatings.

Update--cleaned up the extra white space.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A few words from the TSA

I wrote TSA through their web site, asking if they used a particular definition of gel in their rules for carry-on luggage. {I identified myself as a science blogger.} The TSA Contact Center responded by saying
"Regardless of whether an item is on the prohibited or permitted items list, the Transportation Security Officers (TSO's) have discretion to prohibit an individual from carrying an item through the screening checkpoint or onboard an aircraft if the item poses a security threat. Therefore, TSA security screening personnel make the final decision on whether to permit items like certain gels into the sterile area of the airport."

I infer from this that TSA's definition of a gel is somewhat arbitrary. The security officers have jurisdiction over all fluid and semi-fluid materials.

Liquids versus Gels

The standard thermodynamic definition of a liquid is a material that takes the shape but not the volume of its container. A gel is a material that exhibits no flow when in steady-state. Gelatin is a common gel.

"Is a turkey sandwich a gel or liquid?"

Three years ago, Saturday Night Live broadcast a sketch on Transportation Security Administration screener training. In the sketch, the aspiring scanners discuss liquids, gels, and the differences between them. Here’s some of the dialogue…
A video doesn’t appear to be available online, but here’s the script.
Chris: You want to name some liquids, and/or some gels!
Dane: Liquids and gels.
[ no response from the stone-faced recruits ]
Dane: Anything you've got!
Kenan: Water.
Dane: [ pleased ] Water! That is a liquid! Good!
Maya: Toothpaste!!
Chris: Bingo!! That is a gel!!
Amy: Shampoo!!
Dane: [ smiling ] Wow! you guys are doing great!

UPDATE (9/2010): A link to a video of the sketch is here.

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