Threading-Unthreading Transition of Linear-Ring Polymer Blends in Extensional Flow
*Corresponding author for this work
Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article › Research › peer-review
Adding small amounts of ring polymers to a matrix of their linear counterparts is known to increase the zero-shear-rate viscosity because of linear-ring threading. Uniaxial extensional rheology measurements show that, unlike its pure linear and ring constituents, the blend exhibits an overshoot in the stress growth coefficient. By combining these measure-ments with ex-situ small angle neutron scattering and nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, this overshoot is shown to be driven by a transient threading-unthreading transition of rings embedded within the linear entanglement network. Prior to unthreading, embedded rings deform affinely with the linear entanglement network and produce a meas-urably stronger elongation of the linear chains in the blend compared to the pure linear melt. Thus, rings uniquely alter the mechanisms of transient elongation in linear polymers.