Microstructure Development in Viscoelastic Fluid Systems

  • Author / Creator
    Li, Huaping
  • This thesis deals with the mechanisms of microstructure development in polymer blends. Much work has been performed on the breakup process of immiscible systems where the dispersed phase is suspended inside another matrix. The fluids used were polymer melts or model viscoelastic fluids, and the processing flows were model shear flow or processing flows seen in industry. It is found that in industrial extruders or batch mixers, the morphology of the dispersed polymer evolves from pellets to films, and subsequently to fibers and particles. In this thesis, it is demonstrated based on force analysis that the in-situ graft reactive compatibilization facilitates breakup of the dispersed phase by suppressing slip at the interface of the dispersed phase and matrix phase. The morphology development of polymer blends in industrial mixers was simulated by performing experiments of model viscoelastic drop deformation and breakup under shear flow. Two distinct modes of drop deformation and breakup were observed. Namely, viscoelastic drops can elongate and breakup either in (1) the flow direction or (2) the vorticity direction. The first normal stress difference N1 plays a decisive role in the conditions and modes of drop breakup. Drop size is an important factor which determines to a great extent the mode of drop breakup and the critical point when the drop breakup mechanism changes. Small drops break along the vorticity direction, whereas large drops break in the flow direction. A dramatic change in the critical shear rate was found when going from one breakup mode to another. Polymer melts processed under shear flow present different morphology development mechanisms: films, fibers, vorticity elongation and surface instability. The mechanisms depend greatly on the rheological properties of both the dispersed and matrix phases, namely the viscosity ratio and elasticity ratio. High viscosity ratio and high elasticity ratio result elongation of the dispersed phase in the vorticity direction. Medium viscosity ratio and low elasticity ratio result in fiber morphology. Low viscosity ratio and high elasticity ratio result in film morphology. The surface instability is caused by the shear-thinning effect of the dispersed polymer.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Uttandaraman Sundararaj (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Anthony Yeung (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Pierre Carreau (Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique Montréal)
    • Suzanne Kresta (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
    • Subir Bhattacharjee (Mechanical Engineering)