Shear flow behavior of a dynamically symmetric polymeric bicontinuous microemulsion

Ning Zhou, Frank S. Bates, Timothy P. Lodge, Wesley R. Burghardt

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14 Scopus citations


We have investigated the shear flow behavior of a dynamically symmetric polymeric bicontinuous microemulsion using rheology and in situ small angle x-ray scattering. The microemulsion consists of a ternary blend of poly (ethylene-alt-propylene) (PEP), poly (butylene oxide) (PBO), and a PEP-PBO diblock copolymer. Steady shear experiments reveal an unusual shear thickening behavior at the onset of the non-Newtonian regime, which is consistent with the strain hardening and frequency thickening (at large strains) under oscillatory shear. Scattering experiments indicate development of anisotropy in the bicontinuous structure within the thickening regime. Subsequent shear thinning is observed at intermediate shear rates. Shear-induced bulk phase separation is detected at very high rates. This work complements previous studies on a dynamically extremely asymmetric bicontinuous microemulsion, and thereby establishes the universal rheological properties of polymeric microemulsions. Possible underlying molecular mechanisms for these rich rheological phenomena are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1046
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by the MRSEC program of the National Science Foundation under Award No. DMR-0212302. The authors thank David Giles for assistance with rheological measurements. X-ray experiments were conducted at the DuPont-Northwestern-Dow Collaborative Access Team (DND-CAT) Synchrotron Research Center located at Sector 5 of the Advanced Photon Source. The use of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Labs was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, under Contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.


  • Polymeric bicontinuous microemulsion
  • Rheology
  • Shear thickening
  • Shear-induced phase separation


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