Chemical and Biological Engineering ETDs


Kyle J. Solis

Publication Date



The work contained herein describes the use of various magnetic fields to control the structure and dynamics of magnetic particle suspensions, with the practical aim of enhancing momentum, heat, and mass transport. The magnetic fields are often multiaxial and can consist of up to three orthogonal components that may be either static (dc), time-dependent (ac), or some combination thereof. The magnetic particles are composed of a ferromagnetic material—such as iron, nickel, cobalt, or Permalloy—and can exist in a variety of shapes, including spheres, platelets, and rods. The shape of the particles is particularly important, as this can determine the type of behavior the suspension exhibits and can strongly affect the efficacy of various transport properties. The continuous phase can be almost any fluid so long as it possesses a viscosity that allows the particles to orient and aggregate in response to the applied field. Additionally, if the liquid is polymerizable (e.g., an epoxy system), then composite materials with particular, field-directed particle assemblies can be created. Given the many combinations of various particles, suspending fluids, and magnetic fields, a vast array of behavior is possible: the formation of anisotropic particle structures for directed heat transport for use as advanced thermal interface materials; the stimulation of emergent dynamics in platelet suspensions, which give rise to field-controllable flow lattices; and the creation of vortex fluids that possess a uniform torque density, enabling such strange behaviors as active wetting, a negative viscosity and striking biomimetic dynamics. Because the applied fields used to produce many of these phenomena are uniform and modest in strength, such adaptive fluids open up the possibility of tuning the degree of mixing or heat/mass transfer for specific operating conditions in a number of processes, ranging from the microscale to the industrial scale. Moreover, the very nature of magnetism provides for the manipulation of magnetic materials in a noncontact manner, making the application of these effects simple and robust by eliminating the need for complex, moving parts that may require maintenance and be prone to failure.


magnetic fluids, magnetic fields, anisometric particles, emergent dynamics, vorticity, advection, heat transfer, microfluidic mixing, thermal interface materials, biomimetic dynamics; Magnetorheological fluids., Magnetic fluids--Thermomechanical properties.


The work comprising this dissertation was supported by the Division of Materials Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Document Type




Degree Name

Chemical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Chemical and Biological Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Martin, James E.

Second Committee Member

Han, Sang Eon

Third Committee Member

Van Swol, Frank B.

Fourth Committee Member

Vorobieff, Peter