The Importance of Polymer Topology in Shear Fluid Experiments

The study of fluid shear experiments and the behavior of matter under shear forces is crucial in various fields, including rheology. One important aspect that has recently gained attention is the consideration of polymer topology, specifically utilizing ring polymers in computer simulation experiments. These ring polymers, consisting of closed loops without free ends, have shown unique dynamic patterns under shear forces, which could have significant implications on the rheological properties of fluids.

In the recent research conducted by Reyhaneh Farimani and Christos Likos, two types of connected ring pairs were considered: bonded rings (BRs) with chemical linkages and polycatenanes (PCs) with mechanical linkages via a Hopf link. By focusing on hydrodynamic interactions and employing appropriate simulation techniques, the researchers were able to observe distinct dynamic patterns in these topologically modified polymers under shear.

The results of the study revealed unexpected dynamic patterns in both BRs and PCs, termed gradient-tumbling and slip-tumbling, respectively. The behavior of BR molecules involved continuous gradient-tumbling motion under shear, while PCs exhibited a fixed, stretched, and non-tumbling conformation. The unique modes of motion observed in these ring polymers highlight the significance of the interplay between hydrodynamics and polymer architecture.

The different tumbling motions and structures of BRs and PCs could potentially influence the shear viscosity of highly concentrated solutions or polymer melts. BRs release internal stresses by tumbling, leading to lower viscosity, while PCs store stresses permanently, resulting in higher viscosity. This suggests that the polymer topology plays a crucial role in determining the mechanical properties of the solution under shear forces.

The study conducted by the University of Vienna, the Sharif University of Technology, and the International School of Advanced Studies sheds light on the importance of polymer topology in shear fluid experiments. The unique dynamic patterns observed in ring polymers under shear forces emphasize the need for further experimental and theoretical studies to explore the influence of polymer architecture on rheological properties. The findings pave the way for a deeper understanding of fluid behavior at the molecular level and its implications on various applications in industrial processes and medicine.


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