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........ published in NEWSLETTER # 66

Review by Dr. M.E. Cates, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University, Edinburgh (U.K.)

This volume (NATO ASI SERIES E339) contains papers from many leading authorities in the physics of complex fluids, with an emphasis on the understanding of flow behavior and evolution of structure in these fascinating soft materials. The book covers leading edge research into polymer dynamics, domain formation in mixtures, motion of colloids, dynamics of foams, and viscoelasticity and shear-induced textures in thermotropic and lyotropic liquid crystals. A key attraction of the book is the exposition, in so many of the articles, of how relatively simple physical concepts, carefully developed and with appropriate guidance from experiment, have led to quantitatively predictive models for highly nontrivial flow behaviour.

One of the most strikingly successful of these simple ideas entails representing an entangled polymer by a chain in a tube (mimicking the confining effect of its neighbours). This was developed first for linear polymers by Doi and Edwards in the late 1970's. Articles in this volume give not only a clear introduction to the tube concept itself, but show the amazing range of experimental predictions that continue, twenty years on, to stem from it (for example in predicting the behaviour of branched polymers; see the article by McLeish).

In some other areas covered by the book, the state of understanding is far less well developed - in fact we are still waiting for the big simplifying idea to arrive. An example is the remarkable series of flow-induced phase transitions observed in lyotropic smectic phases, and described in the article by D. Roux - one of several valuable experimental contributions to the volume. Between these two extremes lie areas such as foams and cubic phases, liquid crystals and stirred fluids, where rapid progress is now being made. All are covered in this volume.

A welcome feature is that many of the articles, as well as summarizing the current state of knowledge, contain clear statements of what are seen as the major challenges ahead. The book is well-indexed, well-edited, and thoughtfully laid out. It is recommended reading for those at graduate student level working in complex fluids, as well as for established researchers (whether physicists, chemists, or chemical engineers) in the field. It will also be invaluable to researchers in other areas who require an authoritative and readable survey of recent progress and open questions across a wide range of topics in the dynamics of soft materials.
Reference books: B33, C135, C182, C212, C431, C460, E339, 3-41

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