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Polymer blends in a contraction-expansion flow.

Clarke, N. and Luca, E. De and Bent, J. and Buxton, G. A. and Gough, T. and Grillo, I. and Hutchings, L. R. (2006) 'Polymer blends in a contraction-expansion flow.', Macromolecules., 39 (22). pp. 7607-7616.


We have probed the coupling between flow and concentration fluctuations in polymer blends using small-angle neutron scattering. We utilized a recirculating cell with a slot die, enabling us to measure the behavior at the entrance, within and at the exit of a contraction-expansion flow. While, as expected, anisotropy was observed in all nonquiescent experiments, the correlation lengths associated with the concentration fluctuations are found to be "stretched" more in the direction perpendicular to the flow at all positions along the centerline of the flow, except at the slot die exit. To gain insight into the observations, we present calculations of the scattering based on a multiscale approach, which bridges the gap between macroscopic Newtonian fluid dynamics and the convection of nanoscale concentration fluctuations. However, we find that this model contains insufficient physics to correctly describe our observations. Consequently, we argue that the deformation of the correlation length is primarily due to the coupling between weakly non-Newtonian stresses and thermodynamics.

Item Type:Article
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Date of first online publication:October 2006
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