Rheology of crystallizing LLDPE

Marat Andreev, David A. Nicholson, Anthony Kotula, Jonathan D. Moore, Jaap den Doelder, Gregory C. Rutledge (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Polymer crystallization occurs in many plastic manufacturing processes, from injection molding to film blowing. Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is one of the most commonly processed polymers, wherein the type and extent of short-chain branching (SCB) may be varied to influence crystallization. In this work, we report simultaneous measurements of the rheology and Raman spectra, using a Rheo-Raman microscope, for two industrial-grade LLDPEs undergoing crystallization. These polymers are characterized by broad polydispersity, SCB, and the presence of polymer chain entanglements. The rheological behavior of these entangled LLDPE melts is modeled as a function of crystallinity using a slip-link model. The partially crystallized melt is represented by a blend of linear chains with either free or cross-linked ends, wherein the cross-links represent attachment to growing crystallites, and a modulus shift factor that increases with the degree of crystallinity. In contrast to our previous application of the slip-link model to isotactic polypropylene, in which the introduction of only bridging segments with cross-links at both ends was sufficient to describe the available data, for these LLDPEs, we find it necessary to introduce dangling segments, with cross-links at only one end. The model captures quantitatively the evolution of viscosity and elasticity with crystallization over the whole range of frequencies in the linear regime for the two LLDPE grades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1389
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rheology
Volume64
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020

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