Mesoscopic dynamics of polymer chains in high strain rate extensional flows

D. Kivotides, V. V. Mitkin, T. G. Theofanous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We take a step towards accessing the physics of viscoelastic liquid breakup in high speed, high strain rate flows by performing Brownian dynamics computations of dilute uniaxial, equibiaxial, and ellipsoidal polymeric extensional flows. Our computational implementation of the bead-spring model, when tailored to the DNA molecule, consistently with recent works of Larson and co-workers, is shown: (a) to predict a coil-stretch transition at Deborah number D e ≈ 0.5, and (b) to reproduce the experimental longest relaxation time. Furthermore, after adapting the model parameters to represent the polyethylene oxide (PEO) chain (for M = 1 06 Da), we find it possible to reproduce our own experimental data of the longest relaxation time, the transient extensional viscosity of dilute solutions at small Deborah numbers, and a coil-stretch transition at Deborah number D e ≈ 0.5. Extended to large Deborah numbers, the model predicts that polymer stretching is controlled by: (a) the randomness of the initial conditions that, in combination with rapid kinematically imposed compression, lead to the formation of initially frozen chain-folds, and (b) the speed with which thermo-kinematic processes relax these folds. The slowest fold relaxation occurs during uniaxial extension. As expected, the introduction of stretching along a second direction enhances the efficiency of fold relaxation mechanisms. Even for Deborah numbers (based on the chain longest relaxation time) of the order of one thousand, there is a large variation in the time a polymer needs in order to extend fully, and the effects of Brownian motion cannot be ignored. The computed Trouton ratios and polymer contributions to the total stress as functions of Hencky strain provide information about the relative importance of elastic effects during polymeric liquid stretching. At high strain rates, the steady state elastic stresses increase linearly with the Deborah number, resembling at that stage an anisotropic Newtonian fluid (constant extensional viscosity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2009


  • bead-spring model
  • bownian dynamics
  • dilute polymeric flows
  • extensional rheology
  • high strain rates
  • viscoelastic fluid breakup


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