Friday, November 18, 2011

Relevant Ads

I've never been that impressed with online advertising.  It's rare that something appears in a banner ad that I want to click on.  I have noticed recently that Brookfield is following me around.  Here's a screenshot of a recent trip to Slate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Link of the Moment: STF Fabric

One of the more impressive applications of shear-thickening fluids is as a additive to body armor.  A collaboration between the University of Delaware and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has improved the protective properties of Kevlar.  The home page is here, and pictures and video are here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Degrees of Food Rheology

Dear Doc Rheo:

What do you think of a degree in food rheology?
A student

Dear Student:

I’m the wrong guy to answer your question.

All my degrees are in Chemical Engineering, and my graduate work was in polymer rheology. While my current position involves food rheology, my employer wanted a chemistry or engineering major with experience in rheology.

When I was in school, I was often told that a Chemical Engineering degree was extremely flexible, as it could provide employment in many different industries. These comments were correct, as my former classmates and I work in a wide variety of fields. If you take a look at job report posts from this year and last year, you’ll see that generic rheological jobs ask for Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science/Engineering, or Material Science backgrounds most often.

However, I have been contacted recently by headhunters who are trying to fill some food rheology jobs. I think that these folks have found me by entering “food” and “rheology” into the LinkedIn search function.

To get an answer to your question, you would be better off contacting food rheology professors. I have no experience with the requirements for a food science degree, so I’m not sure what generic benefits the degree confers.

Doc Rheo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Link of the Moment: Deadly Fluids II

The Soft Matter Blog highlights a paper from MIT that discussed the rheological behavior of the fluid from carnivorous plants.  The paper is available for free download until November 18, 2011.  Registration is required at RSC to download the paper.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jobs Report (Nov '11)

A keyword search [1] conducted on November 7, 2011 found 28 jobs on Monster and 21 jobs on Careerbulder.

Degrees required for the jobs are listed below.  Some jobs had multiple fields listed.

  • Chemistry -- 16 positions
  • Polymer Science/Engineering -- 13 positions
  • Chemical Engineering -- 12 positions
  • Materials Science -- 7 positions
  • Food Science -- 5 positions
  • Generic Engineering -- 3 positions
  • Electrical Engineering -- 3 positions
  • Physics -- 2 positions
  • Biology -- 2 positions
  • Supply Chain Management -- 1 position
  • Ceramic Science -- 1 position
  • Mechanical Engineering -- 1 position
  • No field specified -- 2 positions
  • Chemical Engineering -- 12 positions
  • Chemistry -- 10 positions
  • Polymer Science/Engineering -- 9 positions
  • Generic Engineering -- 2 positions
  • Mechanical Engineering -- 2 positions
  • Physics -- 1 position
  • Biochemistry -- 1 position
  • Food Science -- 1 position
  • No field specified -- 1 position
[1] The keyword was "rheolog*"

Monday, October 31, 2011

Muphry Was an Optometrist

Back in August, when I complained about presentation errors, I made a mistake of my own in the post.  It turns out I was following Muphry's Law, which states that "if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."  Muphry is a deliberate misspelling of Murphy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Lieu of a Publication

In my current position, I don't get too many chances to publish externally.  So, I was pleased to see the latest commercial for PAM, which is based in part on some work I did last year.  You can see the talking muffin commercial here.

Disclosures: I work for ConAgra Foods, and the link takes you to a site where a commercial will attempt to persuade you to buy PAM cooking spray.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jobs Report (October '11)

A keyword search [1] conducted on October 2nd, 2011 found 27 jobs on Monster and 25 jobs on Careerbulder.

[1] The keyword was "rheolog*"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Link of the Moment: Deborah's Number

At the beginning of the month, The Dayside at Physics Today talked about the Deborah number, as it's one of two dimensionless numbers not named after a man.  (If you want to know what the other one is, you'll have to click on the link.)

Hat tip: Physics Today online editor's picks email

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Link of the Moment: Life of a Salesman

As part of his series on alternate technical careers, Chemjobber profiled technical sales as an option.  I was in technical sales for 2 years, followed by 4 years of sales support, so I provided a few comments for today's CJ post.
One of the persistent themes I hear about people looking for jobs is that they're sure they can do the job, but for whatever reason (wrong background, not enough education), they don't get an adequate hearing.  Because sales compensation is often by commission, some employers may be willing to take a chance on someone without experience.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jobs Report (September '11)

A keyword search (rheolog*) conducted on September 11th found 26 jobs on and 19 jobs on Careerbuilder.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Known & Unknown

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

--Donald Rumsfeld

Quotation of the Moment: Annoying Software Note

While dealing with a sample robot for DSC that dropped a pan, the controlling software gave me this note, following a string of comments that told me the autosampler was having a problem--

"Warning: unknown warning"

That sounds ominous.

Friday, August 26, 2011

You Already Have a Seismometer In Your Lab

This past Tuesday, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the east coast of the United States.  The last major quake to hit the Virginia area was in December 2003, which had a magnitude of 4.5.  I was living in Virginia in 2003 and remember the quake vividly.  I was running some rheometer tests during the seismic event; unfortunately, the experiment was in the middle of a thermal equilibration step, and so the data were not affected.  If anyone out there was running a test this week that was trashed by the recent quake, drop me an email at rheolworldblog -at- gmail dot com. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quotation of the Moment

"Ask the material how it deforms, because the only the material knows."

Joachim Meissner, as noted in the latest Rheology Bulletin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Equations Left Behind

The latest Rheology Bulletin (link not available yet) announced the death of Professor Dr. Joachim Meissner this year.  During graduate school, I often spoke Meissner's name, because of his work in constitutive equations.  In 1972, Arthur Lodge and Meissner used phenomenological arguments to show that the first normal stress difference and shear stress are proportional to each other when a single strain is applied at time zero [1].

This relationship is supported by many experiments and constitutive equations.  During graduate school, I used the above equation to infer the sample thickness in my optical rheometer [2].
In addition to single-step strains, I and others did work on reversing double-step strains, where a second strain is in the opposite direction to the first.  Osaki and co-workers [3] proposed a relationship similar to the equation shown above:

When Venerus and Kahvand published their study of mechanical double-step strain rheology [4], Lodge somehow heard of the work and proved and generalized the second equation for multiple reversing step strains where the absolute value of the strain is constant.  Following this chain of events, I started referring to the second equation as the Osaki-Lodge relationship.  (I always thought this chain of events showed scientific collaboration at its best.)

[1] Lodge, A.S.; Meissner, J. Rheol. Acta 1972, 11, 351-352.
[2] Brown, E.F. et al., Rheol. Acta 1995, 34, 221-234.
[3] Osaki, K. et al. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym Phys. 1981, 19, 517-527.
[4] Venerus, D.C.; Kahvand, H. J. Rheol. 1994, 38, 1297-1315 (with an appendix by Lodge).

Surely You're Joking (#11): Knock Knock

Knock, knock
Who's there?
The fluid mechanics
The fluid mechanics who?
The fluid mechanics, so they're out today.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Rheology who?
Real?  Gee!  I thought they were fake!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Acknowledge I Have a Problem with This

We just wrapped up our summer intern cycle at ConAgra Foods [1], and I noticed a pattern in the final presentations.  All the presentations I observed used the words "Acknowledgements."  According to the dictionary, this is the British spelling of the word.  If you're going to add that extra e, then you might as well put a discussion of the latest rumours on your "shed-yule".
I suspect that this British spelling slips by because the base word is spelled acknowlege acknowledge, and the extra e doesn't look out of place the way that extra u in rumours does to American eyes.

[1]     Information on internships at ConAgra can be found here.  The main opportunities are in food science, but other interested parties are welcome to apply.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jobs Report (August '11)

Keyword searches (rheolog*) conducted on August 7 found 31 jobs on Monster and 20 jobs on Careerbuilder.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hello Cleveland!

This year's SOR meeting will be in Cleveland, OH.  Any current or former children of Cleveland who would like to introduce their city to the readers of the blog, send me a note at rheolworldblog -at-  (I did some writeups for Santa Fe last year.)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Poll of the Month (July)

From the last post comes the current poll of the month.  Which is the best basic rheology book?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Wisdom of Crowds

A recent discussion at LinkedIn's SOR group asked which introductory rheology book was best.  This was the most popular discussion in recent memory.  People mentioned--

  • The Rheology Handbook by T. Mezger (twice)
  • Handbook of Elementary Rheology by H. Barnes (twice)
  • Rheology: Principles, Measurements, and Applications by C.W. Macosko
  • Understanding Rheology by F.A. Morrison
  • An Introduction to Rheology by H.A. Barnes, J.F. Hutton, and K. Walters (twice)
  • A Practical Approach to Rheology and Rheometry by G. Schramm
    (This book is self-published by ThermoFisher)
  • Rheological Methods in Food Processing Engineering by J.F. Steffe and C.R. Daubert (twice)
  • Bioprocessing Pipelines: Rheology and Analysis by J.F. Steffe
    (Both the Steffe books are available online for free download.)
  • There was a mention of a book by K. Walters; it's either the one co-authored with Barnes listed above or Rheology: An Historical Perspective co-authored with R.I. Tanner

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Breaking Radio Silence

I'm back with a some new posts over the next few days.  I haven't posted, because, to bluntly put it, there hasn't been anything I'd like to discuss.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jobs Report (May '11)

A keyword search (rheolog*) conducted on May 7 found 36 jobs on Monster and 18 jobs on Careerbuilder.  Embedded links now go to the keyword search instead of the front page.

One position that is advertised on both sites is a senior-level food scientist position at ConAgra Foods.   A knowledge of dough rheology is included in the position qualifications.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Evaluation Time

At ConAgra, we are approaching the end of the fiscal year, which means performance reviews.  As I was working on mine today, I thought of this rant from Dr. Cox in the TV show Scrubs--
I wanted you to think about yourself...And I mean really think! What are you good at? What do you suck at? And write it down. Not so I could read it, or anyone else could read it. But so you could read it! You see in the end, Newbie, you don't have to answer to me, or to Kelso, or even to your patients, for God's sake! The only one you have to answer to Newbie, is you! There, you are evaluated. Now get out of here, because you truly make me so damn mad I might just hurt myself!
 (Season 1: My Fifteen Minutes)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Of Course You Can Use The Instrument

A colleague sent an email today asking if he could use instrument X to test sample Y.  For some reason, the email activated my obnoxious side.  I told my colleague that asking the testing question was similar to asking "can I sue someone?"  The answer is the same.  You can always sue someone (at least, in American courts), the better question is whether you'll win.  The same thing applies to instrument testing.  You can always put the sample on the instrument; whether you get good data is another question.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Dr. Jones Lectures

"Quicksand is a mixture of sand, mud, and water, and depending on the viscosity, it's not as dangerous as people sometimes think."
--Dr. Henry Jones Jr., in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

(Video can be seen here, in a Slate presentation on quicksand.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Tissue Fiber Rheology

Dear Doc Rheo:
Do you have, or know anyone who has experience in tissue rheology, specifically on fibers?  I am interested in developing a database on rheological characteristics of the various tissues in the body, ie breast tissue, abdominal adipose tissue, scar tissue, etc.

Dear Josh:
This is far outside my area.  Any readers who would be willing to talk to Josh send me an email at rheolworldblog -at-
Doc Rheo

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

June in Montreal

The Canadian Society of Rheology is presenting two short courses on rheology in June.
The second item does not have a link on the CSR web site.  I will post information when it becomes available.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Links of the Moment: What I Did This Semester

My employer, ConAgra Foods, and Michigan State University set up a 400 level course to introduce undergrads to industrial research.  I am referenced obliquely in some of the stories--

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Flowing Like a River

And so, like water, we flow. Or, let's try to imagine ourselves flowing. We may not realize it when we're in the flow, but take a look at these pictures from St. Petersburg. Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko sees city crowds as a stream of hands, heads and coats rushing along stairs and streets, in and out of buildings...rushing like water...
--Robert Krulwich, reflecting on the photographs of Titarenko

I have to admit, when I saw the pictures, I thought of the smoke monster from Lost.

Jobs Report (April '11)

A search using the keyword "rheolog*" on April 1st found

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 SOR Short Course

The 2011 Society of Rheology Short Course will be held October 8-9, 2011 preceding this year's SOR Meeting.  Gerry Fuller, Jan Vermant, and Andy Kraynik will talk about the Rheology of High-Interface Systems.

Short Course on Polymer Rheology & Extrusion

John Vlachopoulos will present his 66th International Intensive Short Course on Polymer Rheology and Extrusion, April 14-15, 2011, in Brussels, Belgium.  More information can be found here.

Hat tip: SOR member email

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Video of the Moment: Liquid Body Armor

The folks from the Discovery Channel TV Show Time Warp use a mixture of water and cornstarch as a test of the concept of a dilatant fluid-based liquid body armor.

I like this because it's a little different than the videos of people running across pools.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Rock'n'Roll Fantasy

"He thought it was very funny to talk about his drummer complaining that the caviar in their dressing room was the wrong viscosity - for throwing."

Pete Townshend, in the liner notes for the album White City: A Novel

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quotation of the Moment: Pi Day

"The sea was then cast; it was made with a circular rim, and measured ten cubits across, five in height, and thirty in circumference"
I Kings 7:23
This refers to a large circular tank at the Temple of Solomon that held about 12,000 gallons of water.

Hat tip: History of Pi by Petr Beckmann

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Gamma Dot 2

Dear Doc Rheo:
How do you put gamma dot into Excel plots?

Dear Anna:
Microsoft Equation has to be inserted as an object.  Objects cannot be inserted into axis labels.  If I really need to have gamma dot on the chart, I'll insert directly from the rheometer software.
Respectively submitted,
Doc Rheo

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jobs Report (March '11)

A keyword search using the phrase "rheolog*" conducted on March 1 found 31 jobs on and 32 jobs on  There are 4 jobs from Dow Chemical on Careerbuilder.  The polymer rheologist position mentioned here is not posted on the site.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Link of the Moment: Business Practices

The satire found here imagines how Hunt's ketchup could overtake Heinz as the #1 ketchup in America. 

Disclosures: The ideas presented in the column are illegal and punishable by law.  I work for ConAgra Foods, which manufactures Hunt's ketchup.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

He's Hiring!

Peter Arnoudse, a Director at Dow Chemical, is looking for a polymer rheologist.  He posted a note to the SOR Group on LinkedIn.  Interested parties should apply at the Dow Career Site.
Here is the job description...

Polymer Rheologist-1100521

The Dow Chemical Company has an exciting and challenging opportunity for a Ph.D. level polymer rheologist in Plastics R&D with the Plastics Characterization Group in Freeport, Texas. This laboratory supports the development, manufacture and sales of polyolefin resins for film, pipe, blow molding and similar end use applications. The selected candidate will serve as a technical resource for our rheology testing capability, develop new rheology test capabilities, and apply rheological tools and principles to product development and resolution of manufacturing or customer issues. The candidate will lead a local laboratory consisting of four technicians and participate in a global rheology team.

1. Serve as technical resource to the Freeport rheology capability:
•provide technical support and training to the testing group
•maintain high-standard service levels for routine testing
•develop new test methodology/models/understanding to support business needs
•participate in Dow global rheology network to leverage best practices
•keep up-to-date with advances in the field of rheology
•play key role in new instrument evaluation and selection

2. Serve on multidisciplinary teams supporting product and application development
•provide consulting in solving complex problems (e.g. characterize polymers with new structures, troubleshooting issues at customer)
•participate in the definition and defense of patents

3. Network internally with other Dow business units and externally with universities and research institutes
•proactively participate in Dow internal seminars and document high quality research reports
•scientific communications at international conferences and publication of articles in scientific journals

A Ph.D. in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Polymer/Materials Science or a closely related discipline is required for this position.

Additional requirements and preferences of the position:

•Strong theoretical background in polymer rheology with an understanding of the relationship between polymer molecular architecture and polymer rheological behavior, processing, and physical properties
•Strong experimental skill with dynamic, capillary and extensional rheometers
•Experience in the characterization of polyethylene is strongly preferred
•Experience with other polymer characterization techniques is a plus
•Strong, innovative problem solving skills
•Ability to collaborate effectively with others in a team environment
•Excellent written and verbal communication skills

At Dow, we are harnessing the power of science and technology to improve the lives of people around the world. We are accomplishing this by empowering our people - the Human Element - to lead change. To recognize their outstanding efforts and contributions, we offer a total rewards package which is considered top tier in our industry.

Dow offers:
•Competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits
•An annual variable pay program that rewards team and individual performance and shares company, business or functional success
•Employee stock ownership - and the commitment to long-term success that it brings
•On-going learning opportunities in a rewarding work environment
•Career experiences that can span different Dow businesses and functions with opportunities for personal and professional growth
•The chance to work on global teams with colleagues around the world and in different locations

Silly Putty & Play-Doh: Great Toys has put together a list of the 100 all-time greatest toys. Silly Putty is one of the toys from the 1950's. According to the article, the polymer was a byproduct of the development of synthetic rubber.
The other rheologically interesting toy is Play-Doh, which was originally a wallpaper cleaner.  The product was a hit with kids because it was softer than the clay that was available then.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Link of the Moment: Soft Matter Blog

While doing one of my Google searches for other rheology blogs, I came across the Soft Matter Blog, which comes from RSC Publishing.  They summarize articles from the journal Soft Matter and provide articles and previews for free [1].  I've added them to the Science & Engineering blogs.

[1]  John put up a link to the rheology of peanut butter.  I swear I found Soft Matter independently the same day he put up his post.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jobs Report (Feb '11)

A search of the sites and using the term "rheolog*" found 42 positions and 23 positions, respectively.  In January, this search found 22 and 18 positions, respectively.  Part of the increase on Monster is due to 6 technical sales positions advertised by MRI Network. 
The food rheologist position at Kraft (first mentioned here) is advertised on both job boards.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Paper Coatings Companies

Dear Doc Rheo:
Can you give me the names of some paper coatings companies?
A Student (again)

Dear Student:
Here are some companies that I know make paper coatings--
Commenters--do you have any other names?

Here are some other coatings links--

Good luck,
Doc Rheo


Monday, January 31, 2011

In case of rapture, I will still post to this blog

If you type "[favorite blog name]" into a browser window, you're not taken your favorite blog, but, which is a Bible study website.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Conference Announcement: Dynamics of Complex Fluids

First Circular & Call for Papers: Dynamics of Complex Fluids Conference – May 5-7, 2011 – Iasi, Romania All interested people are invited to present and to discuss current results in the field of complex fluids (design and flow properties). Please submit your paper (title, authors, affiliation, a short abstract of maximum 400 words, with the specification of type of presentation) until February 28, 2011, to the conference office.

(Conference announcements can be sent to rheolworldblog -at-  Please include a valid email address)

Update 2/10/2011: You're welcome, Monica

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Logo

I've changed the logo.  The joke is explained here.  The original post where this cartoon appeared is here

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Industries for Rheologists

Dear Doc Rheo:
 I would like to know more about rheology jobs in other areas besides polymers.
--A Student

Dear Student:
When I worked in sales and applications for a rheometer company, I looked at samples from adhesive, asphalt, building materials, cosmetics, food, ink, paint, pharmaceutical, polymer, and paper coatings industries.  This is by no means an exhaustive list; as materials and supplies have gotten more complicated and expensive, companies want precise methods of characterization.  If you would like to find out more industries that employ rheologists, do the following...
  1. Take a look at job web sites like Monster or Careerbuilder.  My monthly job search shows results from all sorts of companies.  (Besides, it's never too early to start thinking about your job hunt.)
  2. Take a look around your lab and note the instruments that are there.  Go to the instrument company web site and find the list of shows the company attends.  You will identify where the instrument companies have customers and prospects.
The good news about jobs in these other industries is that the top majors for rheologists are Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Polymer Science.

Respectively submitted,
Doc Rheo

Saturday, January 22, 2011

News from the Rheology Bulletin

Three bullet items from the Rheology Bulletin
  • The official SOR report from Santa Fe is on page 4 of the Bulletin.
  • The next SOR meeting will be in Cleveland.  As of this posting, the meeting page has not been updated.
  • The short course at this fall's meeting will be on the rheology of high-interface systems.  The course will be added to the list once I have an appropriate link.

Friday, January 14, 2011

'Prime Time'

Is it fine
If I pine
For the time
Of the prime?
'Twas sublime

Written to celebrate the period where the ages of everyone in my immediate family was represented by a prime number.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Rheological Misconception

Rheological item related to Wikipedia's list of common misconceptions
  • Glass is not a high-viscosity liquid at room temperature: it is an amorphous solid, although it does have some chemical properties normally associated with liquids. Panes of stained glass windows often have thicker glass at the bottom than at the top, and this has been cited as an example of the slow flow of glass over centuries. However, this unevenness is due to the window manufacturing processes used in earlier eras, which produced glass panes that were unevenly thick at the time of their installation. Normally the thick end of glass would be installed at the bottom of the frame, but it is also common to find old windows where the thicker end has been installed to the sides or the top. In fact, the lead frames of the windows are less viscous than the panes, and if glass was indeed a slow moving liquid, the panes would warp at a higher degree.
Hat tip: xkcd

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Rheology Courses for 2011

    • The Hyden practical rheology course will be held in June.  Information available here.
    • The Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium will host the 13th European School of Rheology in September.  Information available here.
    • Professor Macosko of the University of Minnesota will not be holding his Rheological Short Course this coming summer.  The course will next be held in 2012

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    A Point of Clarification

    I know that some people find this blog using the search term "eric brown rheology."  I was originally flattered, but I remembered that there is another member of the Society of Rheology with the name Eric Brown.  The other Dr. Brown is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.  I attended one of his talks at last year's SOR meeting, and he has a promising future.

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Jobs Report (January '11)

    Using the search term "rheolog*", I found 22 jobs on Monster and 11 jobs on Careerbuilder.  On Monster, the education level of jobs required is as follows...
    • 8 require B.S. or higher
    • 2 require HS diploma or higher
    • 1 requires a MS degree or higher
    • 1 requires an Associates degree or higher
    • The other jobs do not specify a particular education
    On Careerbuilder, the education level is as follows...
    • 6 require BS or higher
    • 2 require HS or higher
    • 2 require PhD
    • 1 requires a MS or higher

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Fixing the Best Advice

    The original post on Best Advice for Graduate Students contained a factual error.  The original post stated theives stole a grad student's computer, when in fact, they stole the computer and the portable hard drive used as a backup.  I apologize for the error.  Thanks to the anonymous contributor at Chemjobber for the tip.