The Virtual Rheometry Lab for Complex-Fluids R&D

RheoCube is a virtual complex-fluids rheometry lab that allows experimental researchers to use novel simulation methods and high-performance computing resources just as they would use a physical rheometer.

RheoCube is a complete simulation environment for the design of complex fluids and exploration of their rheology and transport properties in a virtual environment. With RheoCube, material scientists get access to virtually every information about their materials and can expose them to situations that are difficult to realize in experiments. In the background of RheoCube, high-fidelity simulations are run on parallel super-computers with top-end GPU accelerators bringing computation time down to a practicable level. All automatic, with users in mind that do know the physics and applications but lack the simulation and HPC expertise. Data and services are hosted on dedicated in-house servers. The service will include extensive tools to visualize and analyze the simulation data.

RheoCube is a high-fidelity virtual rheometer offered in the form of a web-based one-stop shop. It is a complete simulation tool to explore the rheology of complex fluids, helping to understand and optimize their flow behaviour.
Like in a rheometry lab, RheoCube gives you the tools to design a material, expose it to mechanical load and measure all kinds of material responses and transport properties. With full access to the material's microstructure, facilitating understanding and straightforward virtual material prototyping.
Through RheoCube material engineers/scientists get user-friendly access to state-of-the-art scientific computer models. These are cutting-edge methods, validated and used in academic and industrial research, and far beyond what traditional CFD can do.
RheoCube's simulation codes are fast but high-fidelity simulations of complex fluids are still more than a desktop workstation can handle. In the background of RheoCube, simulations are run on parallel super-computers with top-end GPU accelerators bringing computation time down to a practicable level. All automatic. No need to think about HPC infrastructure yourself.
Usage is completely on-demand and costs are only related to actual computing hours. No fixed costs involved. This makes RheoCube interesting not only for frequent but also for occassional users like SMEs.
Data and services are hosted on dedicated in-house servers in the Netherlands and highest security standards apply to the connections to supercomputing centers. None of your sensitive data is "somewhere in the cloud".
The Virtual Lab

RheoCube allows to define (to "synthesize") various types of suspensions and emulsions and the interaction between their components, for example:

  • particle size distributions, shape, elasticity/deformability, and mass density
  • particle surface properties such as charges, dielectric properties, kinetic and static friction constants with/without critical load threshold
  • fluid viscosity (Newtonian, non-Newtonian), multiple components and ion concentrations, dielectric and magnetic permeability, depletion species, etc
  • interactions such as van-der Waals, depletion, electrostatic, DLVO

The flow field of the solvent and concentration fields of additional species are fully resolved around the particles. Hydrodynamic interactions between the particles are resolved down to the Angstrom scale.

Materials and samples thereof can be defined through

  • volume fraction(s)
  • initial states which are either prepared or an outcome of a virtual experiment

Once defined, materials can be exposed to time-dependent shear and stresses can be measured as a function of shear rate and time (e.g. oscillatory shear). Quantifying yield stresses, thixotropy or rheopexy, depending on various fluid and particle properties can be achieved in a few straightforward steps. Same is true for transport properties such as thermal or shear-induced diffusion. The direct access to the microstructure of the material and a high resolution of practically all relevant quantities allow to study the origins of these phenomena.

The Lab View / Object Browser / Workflow

Synthesis: Particle and Fluid Properties


Data Analysis

Partial Funding from the EU

This form of simulation-as-a-service, combining novel simulation techniques with HPC resources and an accessible interface/workflow, is very unique and technically demanding, however it gives innovative SMEs access to HPC simulation technology and this will have a positive effect on the European economy. Therefore the European Commission supports us in this challenge with funding through the FP7 project Fortissimo, a large consortium of service providers, end-users and HPC centers, pushing forward the accessibility of HPC simulation techniques for SME and industry users.