Stress relaxation in unlinked ring polymer melts poses an important challenge to our theoretical understanding of entangled polymer dynamics. Recent experiments on entangled unlinked ring melts show power-law stress relaxation with no hint of a rubbery plateau, usually the hallmark of entangled polymers. Here we present a theory for stress relaxation in rings analogous to the successful approach for star polymers. We augment our theory with mesoscale Monte Carlo dynamics simulations of equivalent "lattice animal" configurations. We find a stress relaxation function G(t)∼t -α with α≈1/2 consistent with experiment, emerging ultimately from the disparate relaxation times of more- and less-central portions of ring conformations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)