Viscoelasticity, nonlinear shear start-up, and relaxation of entangled star polymers

Frank Snijkers, Kedar Ratkanthwar, Dimitris Vlassopoulos, Nikos Hadjichristidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We report on a detailed rheological investigation of well-defined symmetric entangled polymer stars of low functionality with varying number of arms, molar mass of the arms, and solvent content. Emphasis is placed on the response of the stars in simple shear, during start-up, and for relaxation upon flow cessation. To reduce experimental artifacts associated with edge fracture (primarily) and wall slip, we employ a homemade cone-partitioned plate fixture which was successfully implemented in recent studies. Reliable data for these highly entangled stars could be obtained for Weissenberg numbers below 300. The appearance of a stress overshoot during start-up with a corresponding strain approaching a value of 2 suggests that in the investigated shear regime the stars orient but do not stretch. This is corroborated by the fact that the empirical Cox-Merx rule appears to be validated, within experimental error. On the other hand, the (shear) rate dependent steady shear viscosity data exhibit a slope smaller than the convective constraint release slope of -1 (for linear polymers) for the investigated range of rates. The broadness of the stress overshoot reflects the broad linear relaxation spectrum of the stars. The initial stress relaxation rate, reflecting the initial loss of entanglements due to the action of convective constraint release in steady shear flow, increases with Weissenberg number. More importantly, when compared against the relevant rates for comb polymers with relatively short arms, the latter are slower at larger Weissenberg numbers. At long times, the relaxation data are consistent with the linear viscoelastic data on these systems. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5702-5713
Number of pages12
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 8 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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