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Encyclopedia > Thixotropic

Thixotropy is the property of some non-newtonian pseudoplastic fluids to show a time dependant change in viscosity; the longer the fluid undergoes shear, the lower its viscosity. However, this is not a universal definition1, and the term is sometimes applied to pseudoplastic fluids without a viscosity time component.

Many gels and colloids are thixotropic materials, exhibiting a stable form at rest but becoming fluid when agitated. Some clays are also thixotropic, with their behavior of great importance to structural engineering in earthquake zones. Clayey ground can practically liquefy under the shaking of a tremblor, greatly increasing the effect on buildings.

The classic example of a thixotropic fluid is ketchup, where waiting for it to pour can be more effective than pounding on the bottom of the bottle. Thixotropic compounds are important paint additives, allowing a thick, smooth application that doesn't run.

The opposite property, in which shaking for a time causes solidification, is called Rheopectic and is much less common.

See also


  • Reiner, M., and Scott Blair, Rheology terminology, in Rheology, Vol. 4 pp. 461, (New York: Achedemic Press, 1967)

  Results from FactBites:
Thixotropic polyester compositions containing an organophilic clay gellant - United States Patent 4,081,496 (3775 words)
This invention is concerned with thixotropic polyester compositions containing as a gelling agent an organophilic clay comprising the reaction product of a smectite-type clay and a methyl benzyl dialkyl ammonium compound or a dibenzyl dialkyl ammonium compound and the preparation of said compositions from a pregel of an unsaturated aromatic monomer containing said organophilic clay.
Thixotropic Index as defined herein is the ratio of the Brookfield viscosity in cps at 10 r.p.m.
The unsaturated polyesters useful in preparing the thixotropic compositions of this invention are polyesters of a dicarboxylic acid and a diol having a major amount of olefinic unsaturation, preferably 10 to 75 olefin groups per 100 ester groups.
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