, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 232-244

Influence of long-chain branches in polyethylenes on linear viscoelastic flow properties in shear

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 This contribution presents a survey on the influence of long-chain branching on the linear viscoelastic properties zero shear-rate viscosity and steady-state recoverable compliance of polyethylene melts. The materials chosen are linear and slightly long-chain branched metallocene-catalyzed polyethylenes of narrow molecular mass distribution as well as linear and highly long-chain branched polyethylenes of broad molecular mass distribution. The linear viscoelastic flow properties are determined in shear creep and recovery experiments by means of a magnetic bearing torsional creep apparatus. The analysis of the molecular structure of the polyethylenes is performed by a coupled size exclusion chromatography and multi-angle laser light scattering device.

Polyethylenes with a slight degree of long-chain branching exhibit a surprisingly high zero shear-rate viscosity in comparison to linear polyethylenes whereas the highly branched polyethylenes have a much lower viscosity compared to linear samples. Slightly branched polyethylenes have got a higher steady-state compliance in comparison to linear products of similar polydispersity, whereas the highly branched polyethylenes of broad molecular mass distribution exhibit a surprisingly low elasticity in comparison to linear polyethylenes of broad molecular mass distribution. In addition sparse levels of long-chain branching cause a different time dependence in comparison to linear polyethylenes. The experimental findings are interpreted by comparison with rheological results from literature on model branched polymers of different molecular topography and chemical composition.

Received: 12 July 2001 Accepted: 30 October 2001