Quincke rotation

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The Quincke rotation is a physical effect on non-conductive particles in a suspension that are exposed to an electric field.

Small, non-conductive particles that are suspended in a liquid begin to rotate when they are exposed to a sufficiently strong, time-constant electrical field . The axis of rotation is always perpendicular to the field lines, but it points in a random direction. This effect was described by Georg Quincke in 1896. The rotation begins when the charge distribution on the surface of the particles opposes the external field. The position of the particle in the electric field is then unstable and the applied torque causes it to rotate.

The rotation of the particles can reduce the viscosity of the liquid. An experiment from 2007 found that the conductivity of the liquid can be increased by using non-conductive particles.


  1. G. Quincke: About rotations in the constant electric field. In: Annals of Physics and Chemistry. 295, 1896, pp. 417-486, doi : 10.1002 / andp.18962951102 .
  2. N. Pannacci, L. Lobry, E. Lemaire: How Insulating Particles Increase the Conductivity of a Suspension. In: Physical Review Letters. 99, 2007, doi : 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.99.094503 .