Unexpected Stretching of Entangled Ring Macromolecules

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In the melt state at equilibrium, entangled nonconcatenated ring macromolecules adapt more compact conformations compared to their linear analogs and do not form an entanglement network. We show here that, when subjected to uniaxial stretching, they exhibit a unique response, which sets them apart from any other polymer. Remarkably, whereas both linear and ring polymers strain-harden, the viscosity of the rings increases dramatically (the melt thickens) at very low stretch rates due to the unraveling of their conformations along the stretching direction. At high rates, stretching leads to viscosity thinning similar to that of entangled linear polymers, albeit with subtle differences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number208001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume122
Issue number20
Number of pages6
ISSN0031-9007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
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