John F. Brady Group
Our group's research interests are in fluid mechanics and transport processes, with a special interest in problems at the interface between continuum mechanics and statistical mechanics. One area of research concerns fundamental studies of complex fluids. Complex fluids is a generic label for materials that are composed of microstructural elements that interact via colloidal, hydrodynamic, and Brownian forces. Familiar examples of such fluids are suspensions, colloidal dispersions, liquid crystals, ferrofluids, electrorheological fluids, and polymer solutions and melts. In these systems the basic question is one of understanding and predicting the relationship between the material's microstructure and its macroscopic properties. To carry out this task, we have developed a novel computational method known as Stokesian Dynamics that allows us to make quantitative predictions of the structure-properties relations under processing conditions. These numerical experiments have opened up a new approach to study complex fluids and, combined with analytical statistical mechanical theories, are leading the way to the rational design and use of complex fluids.