Tension thickening, molecular shape, and flow birefringence of an H-shaped polymer melt in steady shear and planar extension
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- Tension thickening, molecular shape, and flow birefringence of an H-shaped polymer melt in steady shear and planar extension
- Baig, Chunggi; Mavrantzas, Vlasis G.
- Branched Polymer; Chain branching; Chain contours; Deformation process; Deformation rates; Elongation rates; Elongational viscosity; Flow birefringence; H-shaped polyethylene melts; H-shaped polymers; Macromolecular systems; Molecular shapes; Nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulation; Normal stress; Optical coefficients; Rheo-optical; Rheological property; Shear rates; Shear thinning; Steady shear; Steady-state shear viscosity; Stress distribution; Stretching modes; Transient modes
- Issue Date
- AMER INST PHYSICS
- JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, v.132, no.1, pp.014904-1 - 014904-10
- Despite recent advances in the design of extensional rheometers optimized for strain and stress controlled operation in steady, dynamic, and transient modes, obtaining reliable steady-state elongational data for macromolecular systems is still a formidable task, limiting today's approach to trial-and-error efforts rather than based on a deep understanding of the deformation processes occurring under elongation. Guided, in particular, by the need to understand the special rheology of branched polymers, we studied a model, unentangled H-shaped polyethylene melt using nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations based on a recently developed rigorous statistical mechanics algorithm. The melt has been simulated under steady shear and steady planar extension, over a wide range of deformation rates. In shear, the steady-state shear viscosity is observed to decrease monotonically as the shear rate increases; furthermore, the degree of shear thinning of the viscosity and of the first- and second-normal stress coefficients is observed to be similar to that of a linear analog of the same total chain length. By contrast, in planar extension, the primary steady-state elongational viscosity η1 is observed to exhibit a tension-thickening behavior as the elongation rate ε increases, which we analyze here in terms of (a) perturbations in the instantaneous intrinsic chain shape and (b) differences in the stress distribution along chain contour. The maximum in the plot of η1 with ε occurs when the arm-stretching mode becomes active and is followed by a rather abrupt tension-thinning behavior. In contrast, the second elongational viscosity η2 shows only a tension-thinning behavior. As an interesting point, the simulations predict the same value for the stress optical coefficient in the two flows, revealing an important rheo-optical characteristic. In agreement with experimental indications on significantly longer systems, our results confirm the importance of chain branching on the unique rheological properties of polymer melts in extension.
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