Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.82, No.4, 813-820, 2004
Determining bitumen viscosity through drop shape recovery
In determining the viscosity of bitumen using conventional methods, the measurements must be conducted at extremely slow shear rates to avoid dissipative heating. In this study, bitumen viscosity is measured at room temperature using a drop shape recovery technique which, as will be shown, is immune to any problem of dissipative heating. The method involves stretching a small droplet of bitumen (and in general, of any viscous liquid) with micropipettes and allowing it to recover to its original spherical shape; the dimensions of the droplet can be as small as several micrometres. The shape recovery process is driven by capillary forces and rate-limited by the droplet viscosity. As such, knowing the interfacial tension, the droplet viscosity can be determined accurately from the relaxation dynamics. With conventional viscometers, the problem of dissipative heating often increases linearly with the viscosity and quadratically with the shear rate. This is in contrast with shape recovery experiments, where dissipative heating is independent of shear rate and varies inversely with the viscosity.