Short Course: 9-10 October 2021

In response to the strong sentiment expressed in the recent SoR membership survey, full vaccination will be required for in-person attendance at the meeting. We will be distributing masks with filters to all attendees. We are working now on the details of the vaccination policy and attestation procedure. Please be on the lookout for updates by email and on the Bangor meeting website on this process, as well as on other precautionary measures such as masking and physical distancing where possible. If you are unable to meet these requirements, please consider participating in the virtual program and we will look forward to seeing you in Chicago in 2022.

Colloidal Gels: Formation, Structure, and Rheology (a two-day short course)

October 9-10, 2021 (Saturday and Sunday)

All classes will begin at 8:30 am in Meeting Room A-B of the Cross Insurance Center.

The short courses are held in conjunction with the 92nd Annual Meeting of The Society of Rheology (October 10-14, 2021). Check out the lodging information page.

In addition to in-person participations of the short course, we are also offering online participations this year for those who cannot attend in person due to pandemic-related limitations. The online participants will access live streaming of the real-time lectures synchronously.

For help with registratons, please contact AIPP Customer Service at 1-800-344-6902 or email AIPP Customer Service.

Short Course Registration Info

Short course registration includes a complete set of course notes. Payment can be made on line with MasterCard, Visa, or American Express. Lunch and snacks for the breaks will be provided each day for in-person participants.

Registration Fees for In-Person Participations Through 9/3/2021 After 9/3/2021
Member* $850 $950
Non-Member** (includes membership for 2022) $935 $1035
Student Member* $400 $500
Student Non-Member** (includes membership for 2022) $440 $540
Registration Fees for Online Participations Through 9/3/2021 After 9/3/2021***
Member* $425 $525
Non-Member** (includes membership for 2022) $510 $610
Student Member* $200 $300
Student Non-Member** (includes membership for 2022) $240 $340

* Member rates are also available to non-members who are registered to attend the 92nd Annual Meeting.

** Non-members who are registered to attend the 92nd Annual Meeting may register for the short course at the member rates.

*** Registrations for in-person and online participations will close after Friday 1 October 2021.

Cancellations for the short course received by electronic mail (c/o The Local Arrangements Chair, Albert Co) by September 22, 2021 will be refunded minus a $50 administrative charge. No refunds will be granted after that date. Typically each class is limited to 40 in-person participants.

Colloidal Gels: Formation, Structure, and Rheology

Matthew E. Helgeson, Chemical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara

Roseanna Zia, Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Safa Jamali, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University

Course Description

This short course will provide an introduction to the structure, dynamics, and rheology of colloidal gels. It is intended for researchers with a background in rheology and rheological principles (experiment, theory, or simulation) and a working understanding of colloidal materials (including particles, emulsions, proteins, and other materials in suspension). Attendees will benefit from pre-existing familiarity with the concepts of stress, viscoelasticity, non-Newtonian rheology, diffusion/Brownian motion and colloidal-scale forces. For that audience, this course will serve as a first introduction to colloidal gelation and gel rheology. A particular emphasis of the course is to build mechanistic connections between important rheological gel behavior and the microscopic details of interparticle interactions and structures. Gels can be viewed as undergoing a life cycle of gelation, aging, yield, and re-formation with complex flow characteristics. As such, the course will progress from the various routes to gelation to explaining aging behaviors widely observed in colloidal gels, to linear viscoelasticity, thixotropy, kinematic heterogeneities, yielding and flow. Classical and advanced continuum-level models to describe such versatile rheology, and relevant model parameters/dimensionless groups that classify gel rheology will be discussed. The course will include experimental and in silico demonstrations of gelation and rheological measurements of the resulting gels intended to provide a practical foundation to guide their design and interpretation. During these demonstrations, impacts of important considerations such as inferring interparticle potentials for accurate phase predictions, robust and reliable experimental protocols for gel preparation, wall slip and heterogeneous yield behavior, rejuvenation and shear history, shear banding, and emergence of multiple length- and time-scales will be discussed.

Course Outline
Part 1. Colloidal gel formation and structure
  • Colloidal forces and interaction potentials; “flavors” of gelling colloidal systems (DLVO, depletion, polymer-colloid mixtures, responsive materials); measuring and describing interactions in experiment and simulation.
  • Colloidal thermodynamics and phase (mis)behavior: equilibrium vs. non-equilibrium states, the importance of time in gel formation and rheology.
  • Mechanisms and criteria for gelation: percolation, “equilibrium” gels, attractive glasses, arrested phase separation.
  • Describing dynamics of attractive colloidal systems: Brownian motion and hydrodynamic interactions, importance for the gelation process; measuring dynamics in experiment and simulation.
  • Kinetics of colloidal aggregation and gelation: reaction-diffusion descriptions, population balances and Smoluchowski theory; structural and rheological measures.
  • Morphology and structure of colloidal gels: fractals, clusters, heterogeneity; common structural descriptors (single particle scales; cluster scales; mesoscale heterogeneity); internally ordered gels (crystals and anisotropic colloids); methods for characterizing structure in experiment and simulation.
Part 2. Colloidal gel linear viscoelasticity, aging and weakly nonlinear rheology (the yield point)
  • Practical aspects of rheological measurements on colloidal gels: loading and conditioning gels – to pre-shear or not? Wall slip and surface effects; shear localization and banding; the role of aging in rheological measurement; advanced experimental methods (complex rheometric protocols; rheo-microscopy; rheo-SAN(X)S).
  • Evolution of rheology during gelation: from liquid to solid; what is a “gel point”, and how do we measure it?
  • Linear response rheology of “static” (non-aging) gels and relation to microstructure/dynamics.
  • Aging of gel structure and rheology: slow relaxation toward equilibrium; Smoluchowski’s ratchet; impact and mechanics of phase separation processes.
  • The yielding transition: nonlinear deformation from solid to liquid response; what is a “yield point” (is it a point?), and how do we measure it; what does it depend on?
  • “Simple” models for linear and weakly nonlinear gel rheology: Macroscopic descriptions (Bingham/Herschel-Bulkley models, fractional models, soft-glassy rheology), microscopic descriptions (fractal network theory; mean-field theory; rigidity cluster analysis).
  • Complex phenomena in gel yielding: heterogeneous/”two-step” yielding; imposed stress vs. imposed strain; rate-dependent and re-entrant yielding.
  • Challenges and unresolved aspects of small/medium strain gel rheology.
Part 3. Nonlinear rheology and flows of colloidal gels
  • Response of gel structure to large strain flows: buildup/breakdown of cluster structure, hydrodynamic interactions, shear-induced anisotropy, extensional/compressional deformation.
  • Macroscopic phenomena: shear thinning, thixotropy and models thereof (Bingham/Herschel-Bulkley, SGR, etc.); conventional and contemporary understanding of their microstructural origins (breakdown and buildup of cluster/network structure, hydrodynamics, etc.).
  • Constitutive modeling of colloidal gels: phenomenological models, non-local fluidity, etc.
  • Gel sedimentation and collapse.
  • Thermokinematic memory and rheological hysteresis in gels.
  • Non-homogeneous yielding, “static” vs. “dynamic” yielding, non-monotonic flow curves and shear banded flows in colloidal gels.
Demos (option by attendee interest)
  • 1. Rheometer experiments on model irreversible and reversible gels; Loading and design of rheometric protocols; Kinetics of gelation and determination of gel point; Characterization of linear viscoelasticity, yielding and thixotropy.
  • 2. Simple Brownian dynamics/MD simulations of colloidal gel formation at rest and structuring in flow (using codes to be provided).
Photo of Mathew E. Helgeson
Mathew E. Helgeson

UC Santa Barbara

Mathew E. Helgeson is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Interdisciplinary Research Group co-Leader in the Materials Research Laboratory at UC Santa Barbara. Before joining the faculty at UCSB, he received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Delaware, and performed postdoctoral research at MIT. Prof. Helgeson’s research focuses on the engineering of colloidal and multi-phase materials with controlled structure and rheological properties, particularly through the use of flow and thermal processing. Toward this aim, a particular focus of the Helgeson lab is the integration of rheological, structural and flow measurements to monitor material processing in situ. Helgeson’s research has been recognized with early career awards from the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, American Chemical Society and Neutron Scattering Society of America..

Photo of Roseanna Zia
Roseanna Zia

Stanford University

Roseanna Zia is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University and, by courtesy, Mechanical Engineering. She received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering in 2011 with Professor John F. Brady, for development of theory in colloidal hydrodynamics and microrheology. Zia subsequently conducted post-doctoral study of colloidal gels at Princeton University, in collaboration with Professor William B. Russel. Zia began her faculty career at Cornell in January 2013, then subsequently moved her research group to Stanford University in 2017.

Dr. Zia’s research includes developing micro-continuum theory for structure-property relationships of flowing suspensions, elucidating the mechanistic origins of the colloidal glass transition, and microscopic modeling of reversibly bonded colloidal gels. Her research group further aims to unlock the fundamental connections between colloidal-scale physics and life-essential processes in biological cells using theoretical colloid physics, biological modeling, and high-fidelity computational models.

Dr. Zia’s work has been recognized by the PECASE Award, the ONR Director of Research Early Career Award, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator award, the NSF CAREER Award, the NSF BRIGE Award, the Publication Award from the Society of Rheology, and the Engineering Sonny Yau (’72) Teaching Award. Most recently she was named an Otterson Faculty Fellow at Stanford.

Dr. Zia serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Rheology, and on the Advisory Board of the AIChE Journal.

Photo of Safa Jamali
Safa Jamali

Northeastern University

Safa Jamali is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University. Safa received his BSc in Polymer Engineering from Amirkabir University in Tehran, and a MSc. in “Engineering Rheology” from Catholic University of Louvain and University of Minho in Belgium and Portugal. He received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University’s Macromolecular Science department working on dense suspensions rheology and shear-thickening, followed by a Postdoc training at MIT supervised by Bob Armstrong and Gareth McKinley. He then joined Northeastern University in 2017, with his research group focused on computational methods for physics and rheology of particulate systems. His research interests include biophysics of cell suspensions, science-based data-driven methods and machine-learning platforms, and physics of colloidal systems amongst other topics.

Sponsorship for Students at International Institutions to Attend the 2021 SoR Short Course

The Society of Rheology is offering a limited number of free student registrations for the short course to be held October 9-10, 2021 with The SoR Annual Meeting.


This sponsorship is offered through The Society of Rheology International Outreach Program, to support students of rheology at international institutions who are members of The Society of Rheology or their local rheology society. The student could attend the short course in-person or online. Priority will be given to countries that are building their rheology programs or to students who need financial assistance to cover the costs of short course registration.

Application material needed from students

To apply, the student must write a letter requesting the grant, explaining how the course material will advance their research and their career objectives, and confirming that they are a member of a rheology society. The letter should not be longer than 200 words.

Application material needed from advisors

The student’s advisor should include a letter to support the application, and also to certify that the student is a member of a rheology society. The letter should not be longer than one page.

How to apply

The letters from the student and advisor should be concatenated into a single PDF file and uploaded to the

Application Submission Site

You will be asked to fill out an online application form.

Submissions will be accepted starting August 6th, 2021 and closing on August 27th, 2021. Applications will be reviewed, and notification will be made shortly after the close of the application submission window.