A team of researchers at the NCNR and University of Delaware have developed a Dielectric RheoSANS environment to simultaneously measure the electric, mechanical, and microstructural properties of complex fluids. Their first application of the technique was to study carbon black slurries as they move through an electrochemical flow cell.
Carbon based nanocomposites have been proposed as electrically percolating semi-solid flow battery electrodes. For such an application, electrical conductivity must be maintained while the electrode is continuously pumped through an electrochemical flow cell. Under these conditions, it is highly desirable to maximize the conductivity of these suspensions while reducing their viscosity in order to minimize pumping losses. To understand the link between these properties, a new tool has been developed at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, which allows measurement of the electrical, mechanical and microstructural response of carbon particles under arbitrarily complex deformations.