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Webb, Sharon L. and Dingwell, Donald B. (1990): The onset of non-Newtonian rheology of silicate melts. In: Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, Vol. 17, No. 2: pp. 125-132 [PDF, 645kB]


The viscoelastic behavior of silicate melts has been measured for a range of compositions (NaAlSi3O8, NaCaAlSi2O7, CaMgSi2O6, Li2Si4O9, Na2Si4O9, K2Si4O9, Na2Si3O7, K2Si3O7 and Na2Si2O5) using the fiber elongation method. A1l compositions exhibit Newtonian behavior at low strain-rates, but non-Newtonian behavior at higher strain-rates, with strain-rate increasing faster than the applied stress. The decrease in shear viscosity observed at the high strain-rates ranges from 0.3 to 1.6 log10 units (Pa s). The relaxation strain-rates, relax, of these melts have been estimated from the low strain-rate, Newtonian, shear viscosity, using the Maxwell relationship; relax= –1=(s/G)–1. For all compositions investigated, the onset of non-Newtonian rheology is observed at strain-rates 2.5+0.5 orders of magnitude less than the calculated relaxation strain-rate. This difference between the non-Newtonian onset and the relaxation strain-rate is larger than that predicted by the single relaxation time Maxwell model. Normalization of the experimental strain-rates to the relaxation strain-rate predicted from the Maxwell relation, eliminates the composition. and temperature-dependence of the onset of non-Newtonian behavior. The distribution of relaxation in the viscoelastic region appears to be unrelated to melt chemistry. This conclusion is consistent with the torsional, frequency domain study of Mills (1974) which illustrated a composition-invariance of the distribution of the imaginary component of the shear modulus in melts on the Na2O-SiO2 join. The present, time domain study of viscoelasticity contrasts with frequency domain studies in terms of the absolute strains employed. The present study employs relatively large total strains (up to 2). This compares with typical strains of 10–8 in ultrasonic (frequency domain) studies. The stresses used to achieve the strain-rates required to observe viscoelastic behavior in this study approach the tensile strength of the fibers with the result that some of our experiments were terminated by fiber breakage. Although the breakage is unrelated to the observation of non-Newtonian viscosity, their close proximity in this and earlier studies suggests that brittle failure of igneous melts, may, in general, be preceded by a period of non-Newtonian rheology.

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