Isotactic polypropylene (iPP) melts are industrial semicrystalline polymers whose processing typically involves strong shear flows. The study of the rheological response of iPP melts, well beyond the linear viscoelastic limit, is limited by edge fracture, which manifests in rotational rheometers. In this work, we used a reflection polariscope under shear to detect the onset shear rate at which edge fracture is observed for various rotational rheometry fixture diameters. The onset shear rate for edge fracture was found to correlate with the zero-shear viscosity, thereby enabling the prediction of edge fracture by only knowing the zero-shear viscosity; a quantity that is easier to measure compared to the second normal stress difference. Edge fracture is then mitigated by using a cone-partitioned plate, which enabled the study of the first normal stress difference, and in combination with capillary rheometry, allowed the measurement of flow curves with a very well-resolved shear thinning region. For strongly polydisperse iPPs at high shear rates, we found that viscosity scales as the −0.7 power of the shear rate, while primary normal stress difference scales as the square root of the shear rate. The dependence of the shear thinning of iPPs on polydispersity was then unravelled, offering a broad set of data to develop and test molecular models.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering