Determining the Flow Characteristics of a Power Law Liquid


  • James R. Hillier University of Wisconsin
  • Dale Ting University of Wisconsin
  • Lisa L. Kopplin University of Wisconsin
  • Margaret Koch University of Wisconsin
  • Santosh K. Gupta University of Wisconsin


A simple experiment was set up to demonstrate the shear thinning (pseudoplastic) flow characteristics of a non-Newtonian liquid.  The apparent viscosity vs. shear rate curve was obtained for a 0.07% (by weight) of a solution of Na-CMC (sodium salt of carboxymethyl cellulose) in water.  The solution was drained from a tank through a vertical capillary tube of different diameters and lengths.  Data on the height of the solution vs. time was used to estimate the viscosity and the shear rate.  Data obtained over an extended range of shear rates (300-6000 s-1) from the experimental set-up were analyzed using simple equations based on the power-law model characterizing such liquids.

Author Biographies

James R. Hillier, University of Wisconsin

James R. Hillier received his BS degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in Chemical Engineering (2000), Biochemistry (2000), and Molecular Biology (2000). He is currently the Plant Engineer for Equistar Chemicals in Fairport Harbor, OH, while working on a master's degree in polymer engineering and a diploma in disaster management.

Dale Ting, University of Wisconsin

Dale Ting received his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. He is currently working in process development at The Procter and Gamble Co. in Cincinnati, OH.

Lisa L. Kopplin, University of Wisconsin

Lisa Kopplin received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2000). She is currently serving as a Project Engineer for General Mills, Inc., in their West Chicago manufacturing facility.

Margaret Koch, University of Wisconsin

Margaret R. Koch graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Chemical Engineering in 2000. She is currently working in Process Development at S.C. Johnson & Son, Racine, WI.

Santosh K. Gupta, University of Wisconsin

Santosh K. Gupta received his BTech (1968) from I.I. T., Kanpur, and his PhD (1972) from the University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia. He has been on the faculty of I.I.T., Kanpur, since 1973, and has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame, National University of Singapore, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include polymerization engineering and optimization using Al techniques.