Paradoxical ratcheting in cornstarch

Troy Shinbrot, Matthew Rutala, Andrea Montessori, Pietro Prestininzi, Sauro Succi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this paper, we demonstrate that vertically vibrating a plate in a cornstarch suspension causes the suspension to vigorously ratchet up the plate.We show that this is a necessary consequence of the fact that cornstarch inwater is shear thickening: when the plate moves up it opposes gravity and so the fluid stiffens; when it moves down itworks with gravity and so the fluid flows. This produces asymmetric ratcheting that opposes gravity. We find several unusual states that result in this simple experimental system, and we reproduce the essential effect in two different numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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