Ciro Costagliola, Nicola Massarotti, Mario R. Romano, Mohamed Salahudeen, Luigi Ambrosone, Alessandro Mauro, Francesca Cuomo
The rheological behavior of silicone oils, (CH3)3SiO–[Si(CH3)2O]n–Si(CH3)3, and their mixtures is studied. Shear-stress measurements, in the temperature range of 293–313 K, reveal that this polymer family is a group of shear-thinning liquids with a yield stress below which no flow occurs. Experimental diagrams, i.e., shear stress versus shear rate, are satisfactorily described by the Casson fluid model over a wide range of shear rates. In order to monitor the effect of temperature on fluid properties, Casson’s rheological model is reformulated using the fictitious shear rate, γ̇f, and the infinite-shear viscosity, η∞, as constitutive parameters. Due to low intermolecular forces and high chain flexibility, γ̇f varies very little when the temperature increases. For this reason, the apparent material viscosity depends on temperature only through η∞, which exponentially decreases until high shear rates are reached, and there is more alignment possible. Interestingly, the temperature sensitivity of this pseudoplastic behavior is the same for all of the silicone oils investigated; therefore, they can be classified according to their tendency to emulsify. Experimental results are then used to model the flow of silicone oils in a cylindrical pipe and estimate the temperature increase due to viscous heating. Numerical results show that the normalized temperature, i.e., ratio of fluid temperature to wall temperature, increases approximately 23%, and the apparent viscosity decreases drastically, going toward the center of the tube. The non-Newtonian nature of fluid is reflected in the presence of a critical region. In this region, the velocity and temperature gradients vanish. Since silicon oil is a surgical tool, we hope that the acquired physicochemical information can provide help to facilitate the removal of this material during surgical procedures.