“The Rheology Zoo”

The Rheology Zoo is an educational effort to accelerate understanding of rheology and non-Newtonian fluids. This includes

1. This website with information and videos (including videos curated from around the world)

2. In-person demonstrations and presentations (materials on display in our lab and outreach program created by our group; some photos below)

Rheology and non-Newtonian fluids

These four key phenomena of rheology are different ways to be “non-Newtonian”:

  1. Viscoelasticity (e.g. Silly Putty)
  2. Shear-thinning (e.g. hair gel) and shear-thickening (e.g. cornstarch in water)
  3. Extensional thickening
  4. Rod climbing


1. Viscoelasticity

A bouncing ball of a viscoelastic material, PVA-Borax (credit: UIUC)


Note the high levels of typical fluid-like wobbling (viscous), yet the ability to hold a definite shape (elastic), a characteristic of viscoelastic materials.

2. Shear-thinning

see also: This video (ETH-Zürich)

3. Extensional thickening (“open siphon effect”)

see also: This post (FYFD), This video (ETH-Zürich)

4. Rod climbing (“Weissenberg effect”)

see also: This post (FYFD), This video (ETH-Zürich)

Other phenomena:

Particle chaining in viscoelastic liquid (concentrated soap solution with particles) (credit: ETH-Zürich)

Yielding of 2D colloidal network (credit: ETH-Zürich)


Mystic smoke: the rheology of magic (credit: UIUC)

Impacts on a screen (credit: UIUC)


In-person demonstrations



Other resources:

Ewoldt Research Group YouTube Channel

ETH Zürich Soft Materials Group YouTube Channel (Prof. Dr. Jan Vermant)

U Mass Amherst Non-Newtonian Fluid Dynamics Lab Outreach (Prof. Jonathan Rothstein, with support from the AIP Venture Fund and The Society of Rheology)

FY Fluid Dynamics: celebrating the physics of all that flows

Gallery of Rheology (sponsored by The Society of Rheology)