Date: 13 Jun 2005

Entangled linear, branched and network polymer systems — Molecular theories

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Abstract

This article deals with recent work on the theory of entanglement effects in polymer rheology, in particular, the reptation idea of deGennes and the tube model of Doi — Edwards. Predictions which depend on the independent alignment approximation are omitted. Attention is focussed primarily on linear viscoelastic properties, macromolecular diffusion, relaxation following step strains and network properties. Theoretical predictions and experimental observations are discussed for monodisperse linear and star-branched polymer liquids. Effects due to chain length distribution, relaxation behavior of unattached chains in networks, and the equilibrium elasticity of networks are also considered. The results suggest a need to consider relaxation mechanisms in addition to simple reptation as well as certain modifications in the tube model itself. The effect of fluctuations in chain density along the tube is probably quite important in branched chain liquids. Considerations about lifetimes of the tube defining constraints seem necessary to account for polydispersity effects and for differences between relaxation rate of chains in liquids and in networks. A modified tube model is proposed which gives a somewhat better description of elasticity in entangled networks while still producing the Doi-Edwards expression for stress in entangled liquids. Experimental results so far are qualitatively consistent with the picture which is presented here. Much work needs to be done however to test for quantitative consistency.