Paper in PNAS: How do shear-thickening suspensions flow through pipes ? 

This paper explains how suspensions of small particules (e.g. cornstarch in water), which are called shear-thickening suspensions and are known to “thicken” or jam when one tries to deform them too rapidly, can flow through a pipe without clogging the latter. This is a rather general problem, because these suspensions are very common (from chocolate paste, to high-performance concrete, by way of certain magmas), and also because pipe flow is an emblematic configuration of fluid mechanics, which is the root of the understanding of new types of flow. The study uses an experimental approach. It identifies a new, and singular, flow structure, which sets dissipation and controls the flow without stopping it.

Ref: Alexis Bougouin, Bloen Metzger, Yoël Forterre, Pascal Boustingorry & Henri Lhuissier, A frictional soliton controls the resistance law of shear-thickening suspensions in pipes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 121, e2321581121 (2024)


Contact: Henri Lhuissier (, Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IUSTI

Funding: ANR ScienceFriction (ANR-18- CE30-0024) and ANR SuJets (ANR-21-CE30-0015-01)