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Newtonian fluid, non-Newtonian fluid, rheopectic, thixotropic, dilatant... what's the difference between these liquid properties? More importantly, what does it matter? If you're sizing or selecting pumps, mixers, or any other type of equipment that applies shear to fluid, these are all terms you should know.
All fluids can be broken down into two basic types, Newtonian, and non-Newtonian.
A Newtonian fluid's viscosity remains constant, no matter the amount of shear applied for a constant temperature.. These fluids have a linear relationship between viscosity and shear stress.
You can probably guess that non-Newtonian fluids are the opposite of Newtonian fluids. When shear is applied to non-Newtonian fluids, the viscosity of the fluid changes. The behavior of the fluid can be described one of four ways:
This chart shows how viscosity changes in respect to the amount of shear or stress applied to the fluid.
This chart shows how viscosity changes in respect to shear applied over time to the fluid.
Why do you need to know the difference? It's important to fully understand the properties of the fluids you're transferring, mixing, or pumping because viscosity plays a major role in sizing and selecting equipment. Understanding how it reacts to shear will help you properly size and select all the equipment it touches.
Need help with a viscous situation? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin and upper Michigan.