Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Study of the Structural Relaxation of Elongationally Oriented, Moderately Stretched Three-Arm Star Polymers

Kell Mortensen*, Anine L. Borger, Jacob J. K. Kirkensgaard, Qian Huang, Ole Hassager, Kristoffer Almdal

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

We present structural relaxation studies of a polystyrene star polymer after cessation of high-rate extensional flow. During the steady-state flow, the scattering pattern shows two sets of independent correlations peaks, reflecting the structure of a polymer confined in a fully oriented three-armed tube. Upon cessation of flow, the relaxation constitutes three distinct regimes. In a first regime, the perpendicular correlation peaks disappear, signifying disruption of the virtual tube. In a second regime, broad scattering arcs emerge, reflecting relaxation from highly aligned chains to more relaxed, still anisotropic form. New entanglements dominate the last relaxation regime where the scattering pattern evolves to a successively elliptical and circular pattern, reflecting relaxation via reptation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number177801
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume127
Issue number17
Number of pages5
ISSN0031-9007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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