Meera Ramaswamy (email): I am currently a PhD student working with Itai Cohen at Cornell University. Before moving to the US, I lived in south India, and did my undergrad at IIT Bombay, where I worked on projects in superconductivity, spintronics and particle physics before deciding to work in soft matter. Currently, I work on shear thickening colloidal suspensions, and am broadly interested in understanding the shear thickening-the mechanism, the structure of the force networks, and the resulting microstructure. With this knowledge, I have worked to develop several techniques to tune the suspension viscosity. In my free time I enjoy reading, swimming, classical music, and dance.

Talk details: Determining the Force Networks in Shear Thickening Suspensions
When dense colloidal suspensions are sheared, the viscosity can increase by over an order of magnitude as illustrated by the many videos of people running on cornstarch-water mixtures. While there are many studies on both the macroscopic changes in the viscosity and the microscopic suspension properties that cause these bulk changes, little is known about the mesoscale-how the forces in these systems are transmitted and force network that is set up in these suspensions. Here, I'll discuss the techniques we are developing to unravel and gain insight into the structure of the force networks leading to thickening in such suspensions.