Sunday, February 28, 2010

For Your Information...

The proper response to any one of these three posts is...(forward to 2:17)


...although I suppose you have to be American and over 40 to reflexively give this answer.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Links of the Moment: Shear-Thickening Fluids

The 2008 Rheology Bulletin had links to movies that showed off the shear-thickening properties of cornstarch/water solutions.  The mixture of 1 part water to 1.5-2 parts cornstarch has become known as oobleck, which was a fanciful fluid invented by Dr. Seuss.  After the jump, several videos of oobleck experiments.

Hat tip: Rheology Bulletin

Friday, February 26, 2010

Link of the Moment: Pitch Drop Experiment

While cleaning out my work cubicle, I came across some old Rheology Bulletins.  The July 2007 issue shows a copy of the Pitch Drop Experiment at the University of Queensland.  Pitch (what Americans call asphalt) was put  into a funnel in 1927.  The substance was allowed to sit for three years, and then the tip of the funnel was clipped.  The material, with an calculated viscosity of 230 billion cP, has dripped nine times in the last 80 years.  The Guinness Book of World Records identifies this as the longest experiment on record.  The experiment won the 2005 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics.

File:University of Queensland Pitch drop experiment-6-2.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Hat tip: Rheology Bulletin

Update: The word "Americans" was misspelled in the original post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Link of the Moment: Malvern's Rheology Focus Forum

Of interest is Malvern's Rheology Focus Forum, which broadcasts rheology presentations from a variety of users.  Registration is required in order to view the presentations.  I heard about it through the monthly email I receive from Malvern.  I watched the presentation on the SHERE system, which put an extensional rheometer on the International Space Station.
As a former participant in the rheometer business, I was impressed by the Focus Forum's mission statement:
Rheology Focus Forum is not intended to be commercially biased and presenters are welcomed from any background with any equipment.  The objective is to increase awareness of rheology worldwide and allow people who are working on novel or growing fields in rheology to get more exposure and recognition.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rheology on iTunes

A search of "rheology" on iTunes turns up...

  • A polymer rheology class from Michigan Tech
  • A NC State introduction to the poultry science department.  (Not sure how it's related to rheology, but anyone who has 16 minutes to watch the video and let me know is welcome to do so.)
  • A three minute podcast on dough rheology from USDA
 A search of "rheometer" on iTunes turns up...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Surely You're Joking (#3)

More ideas for rheology t-shirts

  • Optimist -- Glass is half-full
    Pessimist -- Glass is half-empty
    Rheologist -- Another sample to test
  • Optimist -- Glass is half-full
    Pessimist -- Glass is half-empty
    Rheologist -- Wonders if the glass is big enough for the infinite sea assumption
  • Rheologists know the difference between stress and strain

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Twitter: The Rheology Files

Rheology's reach is expanding into other social media

  • The Rheo Thing is on Twitter
  • Anton Paar USA is there, too
  • A search of "rheology" on Twitter gives 14 results
    • 5 tweets on a deformation mechanics talk
    • A student celebrating the end of an exam
    • Anton Paar update
    • A job opening, likely at TA Instruments
    • A PR release from Malvern
    • Two journal articles from Sciencia
    • A student doing some writing

Monday, February 15, 2010

Surely You're Joking (#2)

This is not funny, so much as an idea for a shirt like those which display the chemical structure of items like caffeine.

Chemical structure courtesy of Wikipedia; it was drawn by Wikipedia user Cacycle.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surely You're Joking

The Rheo Thing blog has a post discussing rheology t-shirts. To be blunt, the slogans are lame. They're interchangeable with shirts for geologists, microbiologists, or investment bankers. If you look at the chemist ("If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate") or physicist (F=ma it's not just a good idea, it's the 2nd law") shirts, those are funny.  In that spirit, here are a few real rheology t-shirt ideas.

  • You can't be too rich, too young, or too shear-thinning
  • Rheologists: going with the flow since 500 B.C.
  • Rebel Rheologist: Nothing Flows
  • Or try this picture below...

    Thank you very much, and I'll be here all week.  Don't forget to tip your waitress!
    (Surely some of you have ideas...put them in the comments.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nanotech Glass Beads

According to, a "liquid glass" was invented in Turkey that utilizes nanotechnology.
The liquid glass spray (technically termed “SiO2 ultra-thin layering”) consists of almost pure silicon dioxide (silica, the normal compound in glass) extracted from quartz sand. Water or ethanol is added, depending on the type of surface to be coated. There are no additives, and the nano-scale glass coating bonds to the surface because of the quantum forces involved. According to the manufacturers, liquid glass has a long-lasting antibacterial effect because microbes landing on the surface cannot divide or replicate easily.

If this technology works as stated in the blurb, then the inventor has lovered the viscosity of the glass suspension by making the beads on the nanoscale.  This coating allows surfaces to be cleaned with hot water and has widespread applications.
Hat tip:  Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish

Monday, February 8, 2010

Would you like ketchup with that?

Heinz has re-designed the ketchup packet.  Called the Dip & Squeeze (TM), the new packet "gives you pinpoint accuracy.  So you can put delicious Heinz ketchup exactly where you want it."  It was the poor performance of ketchup in the original packet that led to this redesign.
(The original packet was introduced in 1968.)
Ketchup is a fascinating rheological fluid.  It is pseudoplastic (shear thinning), thixotropic, and has a yield stress.  My first fluid mechanics professor used ketchup as an example when discussing non-Newtonian behavior. 

Here are some rheological data on ketchup, generated by the Rheo Thing blog.

Hat tip: The Associated Press

Disclosure: I work for ConAgra Foods, which makes and sells Hunt's ketchup.  Hunt's is the #2 brand behind Heinz in the United States.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jobs Report (February)

On January 2, a keyword "rheolog*" search on found 44 jobs listed. 26 positions are from a medical devices company located in New Jersey. ( If anyone knows which company is advertising all these positions, put it in the comments or send me an email.)  MRI Network is the recruiting company looking for all these people.

The chart below shows the number of jobs found using this search over the past 6 months.

This chart reminds me of one of my job hunts.  I'd started in the fall and did not receive any responses until January, when I suddenly had three interviews after 4-5 months of spinning my wheels.