1. Quantitative characterization of the silica/silicone oil system. Namely, study how the viscosity of the silica/silicone mixture changes with time (the aging process).
2. Investigation of the effects of additives like surfactants. Our preliminary investigation shows that surfactants slow down the aging process. A gel is formed when particles suspended in a fluid form a network due to colloidal interactions, and adding surfactants will change the way particles interact with each other. We need to obtain quantitative information about this process in order to gain insight into the mechanism responsible for the silicone/silicone oil gel-fluid transition.
3. Electrical properties of silica suspensions. We want to measure how the dielectric properties of the mixture change with time. This involves measuring the dielectric dispersion (dielectric constant and conductivity as a function of frequency) of the suspensions, and monitoring the changes as the samples age.
Students who have finished two semesters of introductory physics courses are encouraged to contact me to arrange for independent studies courses (PHYS 250/350) or for summer research opportunities.