Apparent fracture in polymeric fluids under step shear

Okpeafoh Stephen Agimelen, Peter D Olmsted

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18 Citations (Scopus)
128 Downloads (Pure)


Recent step strain experiments in well-entangled polymeric liquids demonstrated a bulk fracturelike phenomenon.We study this instability by using a modern version of the Doi-Edwards theory for entangled polymers, and we find close quantitative agreement with the experiments. The phenomenon occurs because the viscoelastic liquid is sheared into a rubbery state that possesses an elastic constitutive instability [G. Marrucci and N. Grizzuti, J. Rheol. 27, 433 (1983)]. The fracture is a transient manifestation of this instability, which relies on the amplification of spatially inhomogeneous fluctuations. This mechanism differs from the fracture in glassy materials and dense suspensions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number204503
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2013


  • fracture
  • polymeric fluids
  • step shear


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