In a pure straining motion, elongated rigid particles in suspension are aligned parallel to the direction of the greatest principal rate of extension, provided the effect of Brownian motion is weak. If the suspension is dilute, in the sense that the particles are hydrodynamically independent, each particle of length 2l makes a contribution to the bulk deviatoric stress which is of roughly the same order of magnitude as that due to a rigid sphere of radius l. The fractional increase in the bulk stress due to the presence of the particles is thus equal to the concentration by volume multiplied by a factor of order l2/b2, where 2b is a measure of the linear dimensions of the particle cross-section. This suggests that the stress due to the particles might be relatively large, for volume fractions which are still small, with interesting implications for the behaviour of polymer solutions. However, dilute-suspension theory is not applicable in these circumstances, and so an investigation is made of the effect of interactions between particles. It is assumed that, when the average lateral spacing of particles (h) satisfies the conditions b [Lt ] h [Lt ] l, the disturbance velocity vector is parallel to the particles and varies only in the cross-sectional plane. The velocity near a particle is found to have the same functional form as for an isolated particle, and the modification to the outer flow field for one particle is determined by replacing the randomly placed neighbouring particles by an equivalent cylindrical boundary. The resulting expression for the contribution to the bulk stress due to the particles differs from that for a dilute suspension only in a minor way, viz. by the replacement of log 2l/b by log h/b, and the above suggestion is confirmed. The relative error in the expression for the stress is expected to be of order (log h/b)−1. Some recent observations by Weinberger of the stress in a suspension of glass-fibre particles for which 2l/h = 7·4 and h/2b = 7·8 do show a particle stress which is much larger than the ambient-fluid stress, although the theoretical formula is not accurate under these conditions.
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