In-line measurement of rheological properties of polymer melts

M. Padmanabhan, M. Bhattacharya

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Shear viscosity (η), first normal stress difference (N1), and extensional viscosity (ηE) of polymer melts measured under processing conditions are important in process modeling, quality control, and process control. A slit rheometer that could simultaneously measure η, N1, and the planar extensional viscosity (ηp) was designed and tested by attaching it in-line to a laboratory model single-screw extruder. A tube (circular cross-section) rheometer to measure η and the uniaxial extensional viscosity (ηu) simultaneously was also designed and tested. Two commercial grades of LDPE (low density polyethylene) with melt index values of 6 and 12 were used as test materials for the study. Exit and hole pressure methods were used to estimate N1, and the entrance pressure drop method using the analyses of Cogswell, Binding, and Gibson (the last analysis used with the axisymmetric case only) was used to estimate ηE. The hole pressure method was considered better than the exit pressure method to estimate N1 (due to the greater susceptibility of the latter to experimental errors). From the hole pressure method N1 was obtained from 100 kPa to 500 kPa over a range of shear rates from 40 s-1 to 700 s-1. Among the analyses used to estimate the extensional viscosity, Cogswell's is recommended due to its simpler equations without loss of much information compared to the other analyses. The range of extension rates achieved was 1 to 30 s-1. The combination of the hole pressure and entrance pressure drop methods in a slit rheometer is a feasible design for a process rheometer, allowing the simultaneous measurement of the shear viscosity, first normal stress difference and planar extensional viscosity under processing conditions. Similarly, combining the entrance pressure drop measurements with a tube rheometer is also feasible and convenient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994


  • Process rheometer
  • entrance pressure drop method
  • exit and hole pressure methods
  • extensional viscosity
  • first normal stress difference


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