A Comprehensive Constitutive Law for Waxy Crude Oil: a Thixotropic Yield Stress Fluid

TitleA Comprehensive Constitutive Law for Waxy Crude Oil: a Thixotropic Yield Stress Fluid
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDimitriou C.J, McKinley G.H
JournalSoft Matter

Guided by a series of discriminating rheometric tests, we develop a new constitutive model that can quantitatively predict the key rheological features of waxy crude oils. We first develop a series of model crude oils, which are characterized by a complex thixotropic and yielding behavior that strongly depends on the shear history of the sample. We then outline the development of an appropriate preparation protocol for carrying out rheological measurements, to ensure consistent and reproducible initial conditions. We use RheoPIV measurements of the local kinematics within the fluid under imposed deformations in order to validate the selection of a particular protocol. Velocimetric measurements are also used to document the presence of material instabilities within the model crude oil under conditions of imposed steady shearing. These instabilities are a result of the underlying non-monotonic steady flow curve of the material. Three distinct deformation histories are then used to probe the material's constitutive response. These deformations are steady shear, transient response to startup of steady shear with different aging times, and large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS). The material response to these three different flows is used to motivate the development of an appropriate constitutive model. This model (termed the IKH model) is based on a framework adopted from plasticity theory and implements an additive strain decomposition into characteristic reversible (elastic) and irreversible (plastic) contributions, coupled with the physical processes of isotropic and kinematic hardening. Comparisons of experimental to simulated response for all three flows show good quantitative agreement, validating the chosen approach for developing constitutive models for this class of materials.