Shear-Induced Nematic Phase in Entangled Rod-Like PEEK Melts

One of the most intriguing properties of rod-like polymers is the ability to form a nematic phase. Among a broad variety of external stimuli to promote the isotropic (I)-nematic (N) transition, a shear-induced nematic phase represents one of the most fascinating phenomena in polymer physics. Here, after reviewing some relevant findings on quiescent and shear-induced nematics, we present the novel shear-induced isotropic-nematic transition exhibited by poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) melts of various chain lengths. The key factor is the significant rigidity of the PEEK chain that makes it a rodlike polymer. The molecular weight (Mw) dependence of the zero-shear viscosity of PEEK in the isotropic phase, follows the Doi-Edwards theoretical prediction for rod-like polymers in the entangled regime. The shear-induced I-N transition manifests in the apparent shear viscosity dependence on the shear rate (flow curves) with three regimes: I) an isotropic response with no measurable birefringence at low shear rates, II) an I-N transition with an isotropic-nematic biphase, two steady state values of apparent viscosity and mild birefringence at intermediate shear rates, and III) a continuous nematic phase with strong birefringence at high shear rates. Additionally, the observed threshold shear rates for regimes II and III for the four PEEK samples were used to construct a dynamic phase diagram of PEEK at 370 °C, revealing that such a transition is stress-controlled.



Work Title Shear-Induced Nematic Phase in Entangled Rod-Like PEEK Melts
Open Access
  1. Ralph Colby
License Public Domain Mark 1.0
Work Type Article
Publication Date 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2020.101323
Deposited February 25, 2021




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