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Short course

Non-Newtonian flow and applied rheology

Aim of the course

The aim of the course is to provide a comprehensive introduction to non-Newtonian fluids, and the rheology and flow of such fluids in open and closed ducts.

Core syllabus

  • non-Newtonian fluids and commonly used rheological models; the fluid mechanics of such non-Newtonian fluids (flow in pipes and flumes); applied rheology
  • how to determine yield stress using the vane technique; how to identify different non-Newtonian materials and flow behaviors through measurements in tube viscometers and rotational rheometers
  • how to carefully and properly interpret non-Newtonian rheological data and choose a suitable viscosity model (central to the design of piping systems and flow loops)
  • techniques to analyse one-dimensional flows in circular and non-circular conduits, particularly from the standpoint of estimating pumping requirements
  • settling of particles in non-Newtonian fluids

Specific outcomes

An understanding and working knowledge (ie ability to analyse and design) of the following topics:

  • definition of a fluid; Newtonian & non-Newtonian fluids; different types of non-Newtonian fluids and their underlying mechanisms
  • sources of errors, such as end and slip effects in tube viscometers, and how to correct for these effects in order to correctly determine shear stress-shear rate data for time-independent fluids
  • rotational rheometers; form factors for couette, cone & plate and parallel plate systems; their relative merits and demerits.
  • fitting of viscosity models to experimental data and interpretation of model parameter values
  • pressure drop- flow rate relationships for the flow (laminar and turbulent) of different types of non-Newtonian fluids in circular and non-circular ducts
  • criteria for the cessation of laminar flow; friction factors in transitional and turbulent flow; prediction of turbulent flow pressure drops
  • fitting losses, effect of non-Newtonian properties on the performance of centrifugal pumps, settling of particles

Who should do the course?

All registered FPRC post graduate students, and anyone with the necessary background who is interested in studying the flow of non-Newtonian fluids

Entrance qualification

Undergraduate fluid mechanics


5 months part time


Course will start in February and July each year

Time required

The course is to be completed in the students own time. It comprises

  • approximately 18 hours of video lectures
  • approximately 40 hours of self-study and completion of compulsory tutorials, which will be marked


R6500.00 (including electronic format of book “Non-Newtonian flow and applied rheology”, Chhabra & Richardson) for online students. For any CPUT registered post graduate student the course fee will be waived (e-book available from the library).

Anticipated student numbers

5 to 10 per course

Assessment and certification

Evaluation of tutorials and final open book examination. Certification will be issued by the Centre for Continuing Education.


Prof. RP Chhabra (Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India; Adjunct professor, FPRC, CPUT) and Mr APN Sutherland (FPRC, CPUT)


+27 21 460 3055 or