Physics Colloquium - Friday, February 24th, 2006, 4:00 P.M.

E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200

Philippe Coussot
Navier Institute, Paris

The Physics of Mud

Various industrial materials (chocolate, cement pastes, drilling fluids, paints, etc) are made of a large number of solid elements of various sizes immersed in a liquid. A typical material of that type is mud, often encountered in nature, for example in the form of catastrophic mudflows in mountain streams, or used for drilling process, pottery, cosmetics, etc. It may be shown that the physical and mechanical behaviour of these material is governed by the colloidal phase, i.e. the clay for muds. In this talk we focus on some of the physical characteristics of clay-water suspensions. In particular the clay particles form a kind of deformable sponge in which the particles are jammed, but which allows for a solid-liquid transition which is of practical importance.