Shear-Induced Heterogeneity in Associating Polymer Gels: Role of Network Structure and Dilatancy

AK Omar and ZG Wang, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 119, 117801 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.117801

We study associating polymer gels under steady shear using Brownian dynamics simulation to explore the interplay between the network structure, dynamics, and rheology. For a wide range of flow rates, we observe the formation of shear bands with a pronounced difference in shear rate, concentration, and structure. A striking increase in the polymer pressure in the gradient direction with shear, along with the inherently large compressibility of the gels, is shown to be a crucial factor in destabilizing homogeneous flow through shear-gradient concentration coupling. We find that shear has only a modest influence on the degree of association, but induces marked spatial heterogeneity in the network connectivity. We attribute the increase in the polymer pressure (and polymer mobility) to this structural reorganization.

Return to Publications page