Microstructure and shear rheology of entangled wormlike micelles in solution

Matthew W. Liberatore, Florian Nettesheim, Paula A. Vasquez, Matthew E. Helgeson, Norman J. Wagner, Eric W. Kaler, L. Pamela Cook, Lionel Porcar, Y. Thomas Hu

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64 Scopus citations


The shear rheology of a model wormlike micellar solution exhibits moderate shear thinning and curved flow velocity profiles without discontinuity (nonbanding case). The shear rheology and the flow kinematics are analyzed within the framework of the Giesekus constitutive equation. Macroscopically, the steady state flow curve of the solution exhibits shear thinning with a shear exponent <1 without hysteresis, indicative of a sample that does not shear band. The microstructure of the micellar network is probed by the combination of dynamic rheology, rheo-optics, and SANS. Flow kinematics in a Couette geometry are measured by particle tracking velocimetry and found to be consistent with predictions of the Giesekus constitutive equation fit to the bulk shear rheology. 1-2 plane SANS measurements of the segmental alignment under shear are also found to be in agreement with predictions of the constitutive equation, providing a coherent picture of the mechanisms by which wormlike micelles flow and shear thin. The degree of segmental alignment is found to lag behind predictions of the model, which is postulated to be a consequence of the long, branched topology of the wormlike micelles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-458
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Unilever and the Humbolt Stiftung (FN) for financial support. Travis Hodgdon completed the Cryo-TEM in Fig. 2 . Andrew Klein is acknowledged for assistance in aspects of this research. The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, in providing the neutron research facilities used in this work. Identification of equipment or materials does not imply recommendation by NIST.


  • Giesekus model
  • Rheo-optics
  • Small-angle neutron scattering
  • Wormlike micelles


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