Original Contributions

Rheologica Acta

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 400-408

First online:

The relaxation of polymers with linear flexible chains of uniform length

  • M. BaumgaertelAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts
  • , A. SchausbergerAffiliated withPhysikalische Chemie, Johannes-Kepler-Universität
  • , H. H. WinterAffiliated withDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts

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The analysis of dynamic mechanical data indicates that linear flexible polymer chains of uniform length follow a scaling relation during their relaxation, having a linear viscoelastic relaxation spectrum of the formH(λ) = n 1 G N 0 × (λ/λ max) n1 forλλ max. Data are well represented with a scaling exponent of about 0.22 for polystyrene and 0.42 for polybutadiene. The plateau modulusG N 0 is a material-specific constant and the longest relaxation time depends on the molecular weight in the expected way. At high frequencies, the scaling behavior is masked by the transition to the glassy response. Surprisingly, this transition seems to follow a Chambon-Winter spectrumH(λ) = Cλ−n2, which was previously adopted for describing other liquid/solid transitions. The analysis shows that the Rouse spectrum is most suitable for low molecular-weight polymersM ≈ M c , and that the de Gennes-Doi-Edwards spectrum clearly predicts terminal relaxation, but deviates from the observed behavior in the plateau region.

Key words

Relaxation spectrum monodisperse polymers scaling glass transition plateau modulus recoverable compliance