Polymer Science Faculty Research


Shear and extensional rheology of entangled polymer melts: Similarities and differences

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Publication Date

Fall 2012


This work extends our previous understanding concerning the nonlinear responses of entangled polymer solutions and melts to large external deformation in both simple shear and uniaxial extension. Many similarities have recently been identified for both step strain and startup continuous deformation, including elastic yielding, i.e., chain disentanglement after cessation of shear or extension, and emergence of a yield point during startup deformation that involves a deformation rate in excess of the dominant molecular relaxation rate. At a sufficiently high constant Hencky rate, uniaxial extension of an entangled melt is known to produce window-glass-like rupture. The present study provides evidence against the speculation that chain entanglements tie up into “dead knots” in constant-rate extension because of the exponentially growing chain stretching with time. In particular, it is shown that even Instron-style tensile stretching, i.e., extending a specimen by applying a constant velocity on both ends, results in rupture. Yet, in the same rate range, the same entangled melt only yields in simple shear, and the resulting shear banding is clearly not a characteristic of rupture. Thus, we conclude that chain entanglements respond to simple shear in the manner of yielding whereas uniaxial extension is rather effective in causing some entanglements to lock up, making it impossible for the entanglement network to yield at high rates.

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