Molecular orientation of a commercial thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer in simple shear and complex flow

Wesley Roth Burghardt*, Eric F. Brown, Maria Lujan Auad, Julia A. Kornfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In-situ X-ray scattering methods have been used to measure the average degree of molecular orientation in the commercial thermotropic copolyesteramide, Vectra B. Experiments were conducted in both homogeneous shear flow and in extrusion-fed channel flows that provided mixed shear/extensional deformations. In the channel flows, extension has a dramatic effect on the average orientation state in the vicinity of stagnation points or expansions/contractions in cross-sectional area. Of particular note, a temporary increase and subsequent decay in orientation observed in a 4:1 slit-contraction flow provides additional indirect evidence supporting the hypothesis that Vectra B exhibits director tumbling. This is consistent with results from other fully aromatic copolyesters but contrasts with findings in "model" thermotropes incorporating flexible spacers. Thus, it seems that the stiffer backbone of commercial main chain LCPs is the main feature which, apparently, leads to tumbling. Measurements of average molecular orientation in transient shear flows show some connections with the corresponding mechanical response, but fail to show the distinctive characteristics that have previously been associated with either tumbling or aligning in LCPs using similar procedures. These experiments might be adversely affected by the comparatively slow rate of data acquisition, which leads to lengthy experiments in which the sample is more prone to degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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