Gareth H. McKinley1 & Tamarapu Sridhar2

1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, M.I.T., Cambridge MA 02139, U.S.A.
2 Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Key Words: transient extensional viscosity; polymer solution rheology; elongational flow

Running Head: Filament Stretching Rheometry


Filament stretching rheometers are devices for measuring the extensional viscosity of moderately viscous non-Newtonian fluids such as polymer solutions. In these devices a cylindrical liquid bridge is initially formed between two circular end-plates.  The plates are then moved apart in a prescribed manner such that the fluid sample is subjected to a strong extensional deformation.  Asymptotic analysis and numerical computation show that the resulting kinematics closely approximate those of an ideal homogeneous uniaxial elongation. The evolution in the tensile stress (measured mechanically) and the molecular conformation (measured optically) can be followed as functions of the rate of stretching and the total strain imposed. The resulting rheological measurements are a sensitive discriminant of molecularly-based constitutive equations proposed for complex fluids. The dynamical response of the elongating filament is also coupled to the extensional rheology of the polymeric test fluid and this can lead to complex viscoelastic flow instabilities such as filament necking and rupture or elastic peeling from the rigid end-plates.