Dielectric RheoSANS — Simultaneous interrogation of impedance, rheology and small angle neutron scattering of complex fluids

Jeffrey J. Richards, Cedric V.L. Gagnon, Jeffery R. Krzywon, Norman J. Wagner*, Paul D. Butler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A procedure for the operation of a new dielectric RheoSANS instrument capable of simultaneous interrogation of the electrical, mechanical and microstructural properties of complex fluids is presented. The instrument consists of a Couette geometry contained within a modified forced convection oven mounted on a commercial rheometer. This instrument is available for use on the small angle neutron scattering (SANS) beamlines at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The Couette geometry is machined to be transparent to neutrons and provides for measurement of the electrical properties and microstructural properties of a sample confined between titanium cylinders while the sample undergoes arbitrary deformation. Synchronization of these measurements is enabled through the use of a customizable program that monitors and controls the execution of predetermined experimental protocols. Described here is a protocol to perform a flow sweep experiment where the shear rate is logarithmically stepped from a maximum value to a minimum value holding at each step for a specified period of time while frequency dependent dielectric measurements are made. Representative results are shown from a sample consisting of a gel composed of carbon black aggregates dispersed in propylene carbonate. As the gel undergoes steady shear, the carbon black network is mechanically deformed, which causes an initial decrease in conductivity associated with the breaking of bonds comprising the carbon black network. However, at higher shear rates, the conductivity recovers associated with the onset of shear thickening. Overall, these results demonstrate the utility of the simultaneous measurement of the rheo-electro-microstructural properties of these suspensions using the dielectric RheoSANS geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere55318
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number122
StatePublished - Apr 10 2017


  • Battery
  • Carbon black
  • Dielectric spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical flow cells
  • Engineering
  • Issue 122
  • Rheology
  • Small angle neutron scattering
  • Structure-property relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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