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A Viscosity Valentine

February 9, 2021

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and while most of us are thinking about how to celebrate with our special someone, here at RheoSense we are thinking more about all the things we love most about viscosity! We want to share the love with our customers and blog subscribers, so we’ve created this list highlighting 5 applications of viscosity you are bound to fall in love with this year (if you haven’t already)!

Formulation Optimization

Solution formulation determines the solutions stability, shelf life and, in the case of protein solutions, other aspects such as injectability. Viscosity serves as an ideal indicator of stability since it is highly sensitive to changes in the individual proteins, protein-protein interactions, and the resulting microstructure. In an ideal scenario we would formulate our solutions and immediately use them, but this is rarely the case. In practical applications, solutions are formulated and then stored for long periods of time before use. These stored solutions can experience age related changes during storage, which can be detected using viscosity measurements (Dickinson E, 2010).CTA - Formulation Guide July Webinar 2019

Material Characterization

Intrinsic viscosity is a reliable and sensitive indicator of a solute’s molecular interaction with a solvent, and can be used to determine the molecular properties of a sample, such as:

  • Molecular weight and size
  • Polymerization
  • Interaction of molecules
  • Degradation
  • Branching structure
  • Stability of molecules: aggregation, denaturation, or conformational changes of protein molecules
  • Protein structure and melting temperatures

Learn more about material characterization with intrinsic viscosity here: https://www.rheosense.com/promotion/events/free-viscometer

Consumer Experience

Think of all the food products you enjoy every day, just think of how different the viscosity of your coffee creamer is from the viscosity of your jams. Viscosity is measured for quality control of food products, ensuring all products that reach consumers are consistent in quality. Imagine if you purchased two bottles of tomato ketchup and one of them has the same viscosity as milk!

Learn more about the importance of viscosity in food products: 

Viscosity of food products email 1

Oil Efficiency

When is the last time you had the oil in your car changed? Engine oil is an essential lubricant for high performance of automobiles. It degrades over time as our engines use the oil to run and one method to monitor the degradation is measuring change in viscosity. Viscosity governs the rate of oil consumption and determines the ease with which machines may be started or operated under varying temperature conditions (Machinery Lubrication). Oil viscosity is not only important when it comes to the cars we drive. The gears in oil machinery in refineries are continuously exposed to oil and if the viscosity is not right like too high, it will cause gears to damage.

Learn more about measuring the viscosity of oil: CTA - microVISC Oil Health Application Note

Industrial Processes

Extensional viscosity is a resistance of a liquid to stretching, whereas shear-rate-dependent viscosity is a resistance of a liquid to shearing. Extensional deformation and shearing have a significant impact on certain industrial processes, such as fiber spinning, paint rolling, roll coating, inkjet printing, spraying, electrospinning, enhanced oil recovery, drag reduction, and food processing. Regions of strong extensional flow can affect the properties of the final product. In addition to the numerous industrial processes, other efforts involving extension include spreading butter, smoothing on lotion, and even swallowing! These processes are often a mixed flow of shearing and extension, meaning both properties are important to understand for precise control.

Learn more about extensional viscosity applications here. 

Have other viscosity applications and uses you love? We would love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.

Want to learn all there is to love about viscosity? Subscribe to our news notifications to stay up to date with viscosity discoveries and updates.

Want to learn even more about viscosity? Subscribe to "The Viscosity Channel" on YouTube for monthly webinars, live demonstrations, Q&A sessions, back-to-basics rheology fundamentals series, and expert advice. Learn how to measure viscosity and how to apply those measurements to your material characterizations, get inspirations from real-life viscosity applications, and be part of a vibrant scientific community of rheology and viscosity experts.


Written by: Eden Reid, RheoSense Senior Marketing Associate

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