Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1.5 hours / session, 2 sessions / week

Course Goal

The aim of the course is to provide a basic foundation in the fluid mechanics of structurally complex materials. It is hoped to provide an understanding of the physics underlying the constitutive equations for these materials as well as an appreciation for the approximations needed in obtaining tractable equations (from both a continuum and a micromechanical viewpoint) plus useful solutions to typical flow problems.


The text for the course is Bird, R. B., R. C. Armstrong, and O. Hassager. Dynamics of Polymeric Liquids, Volume 1. Fluid Mechanics. 2nd ed. Wiley-Interscience, 1987. ISBN: 9780471802457. Do NOT buy the first edition—it is substantially different.

Other useful references include:

Rubinstein, M., and R. Colby. Polymer Physics. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780198520597. This book is more molecularly-focused on chain dynamics, scaling etc. and less on flow problems.

Macosko, C. W. Rheology: Principles, Measurements, and Applications. Wiley-VCH, 1994. ISBN: 9780471185758.


Bird, R. B., R. C. Armstrong, and O. Hassager. Dynamics of Polymeric Liquids, Volume. 2. Kinetic Theory. 2nd ed. Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated, 1987.

Larson, R. G. Constitutive Equations for Polymer Melts and Solutions: Butterworths Series in Chemical Engineering. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013. ISBN: 9781483130446.

———. The Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids, Topics in Chemical Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Morrison, F. Understanding Rheology. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780195141665.

Doi, M., and S. F. Edwards. The Theory of Polymer Dynamics. Oxford University Press, 1986. ISBN: 9780198519768.

Graessley, W. W. Polymeric Liquids & Networks: Dynamics and Rheology. Garland Science, 2008. ISBN: 9780815341710.

Tanner, R. I. Engineering Rheology (Oxford Engineering Science Series). 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780198564737.

Walters, K. Rheometry. Chapman and Hall, 1975. ISBN: 9780412120909.

Probstein, R. F. Physicochemical Hydrodynamics: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Wiley-Interscience, 1994. ISBN: 9780471010111.

Ferry, J. D. Viscoelastic Properties of Polymers. 3rd ed. Wiley, 1980. ISBN: 9780471048947. [Preview with Google Books]


Homework will be handed out through the semester. The purpose of these is to help you learn how to use the course material to solve actual problems.

Special Projects

Each student in the course will be asked to do a special project (projects chosen to match students research interests) which might, for example, consist of critiquing and / or extending an article in one of the standard rheology journals—Journal of Rheology, Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, Rheologica Acta, Soft Matter.

In addition there will be a short (10min) in-class presentation in the last two sessions.


There is no final exam. The final course grade will be based as follows:

Two 1.5 hour quizzes 60%
Project 30%
Homework 10%