Rheologica Acta

, Volume 50, Issue 11–12, pp 869–879 | Cite as

Extensional rheology of human saliva

  • Simon J. HawardEmail author
  • Jeff A. Odell
  • Monica Berry
  • Tim Hall
Original Contribution


We have developed an oscillatory cross-slot extensional rheometer capable of performing measurements with unprecedentedly small volumes of test fluids (∼10–100 μL). This provides the possibility of studying exotic and precious or scarce bio-fluids, such as synovial fluid. To test our system, we have looked at a relatively abundant and accessible biological fluid, namely human saliva; a complex aqueous mixture of high molecular weight mucin molecules and other components. The results represent our first attempts to by this technique and as yet we have only sampled a small dataset. However, we believe we have produced the first successful quantitative measurements of extensional viscosity, Trouton ratio, and flow-induced birefringence made on saliva samples. The results significantly add to the scant literature on saliva rheology, especially in extension, and demonstrate the important role of saliva extensibility in relation to function.


Birefringence Flow-induced orientation Viscometry Extensional flow Saliva Mucin 



JA Odell and SJ Haward gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK. We thank professor GH McKinley for the use of his m-VROC rheometer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon J. Haward
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Jeff A. Odell
    • 1
  • Monica Berry
    • 2
  • Tim Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.H.H. Wills Physics LaboratoryUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.University of Bristol Mucin Research GroupBristol Royal InfirmaryBristolUK
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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