Sheet formation in immiscible polymer blends: model experiments on initial blend morphology

Uttandaraman Sundararaj, Yoav Dori, Christopher W. Macosko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Model experiments were performed to determine the controlling parameters in the evolution of the phase morphology of immiscible polymer blends from pellets to micrometre-sized particles. It has been established that during melting in both twin-screw extruders and batch mixers, the dispersed phase is stretched into sheets. These sheets develop into cylinders and the cylinders ultimately break into spherical droplets via Rayleigh-type instabilities. Here, we show that micrometre thick sheets can be created from millimetre-sized pellets by shearing in the parallel discs geometry. Extensional flow is not required to generate the sheets. Pellets are seen to break up in three ways: (1) by stretching into cylinders with drops streaming off the end; (2) by extending sheets that form fingers at the edges; and (3) by stretching into thin sheets that break up by forming holes. A map of the different regions of breakup is given using the Deborah number and the ratio of the first normal stress difference of the matrix to the restoring stress of the pellet (drop). The drop-restoring stress is the sum of the surface stress resulting from interfacial tension and the first normal stress difference of the drop. The masterplot explains why sheets can be easily formed from large drops and gives a window where the sheets are stable and do not form holes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1957-1968
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank R. A. Cairncross and R. Hanamanthu for useful discussions.T his work was partiallyf undedby NSF grant CTS-9203108T. he authors are grateful to DuPont and 3M for financial support of this work, One of us (U.S.) is grateful to the Plastics Instituteo f America for supplementaslc holarshipds uring various periods of this research.


  • breakup mechanisms
  • mixing
  • polymer blends


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