Structural response of a prealigned cylindrical block copolymer melt to extensional flow

Erica M. McCready, Wesley R. Burghardt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We report in situ small-angle x-ray scattering studies of a prealigned cylindrically ordered styrene-ethylene butylene-styrene block copolymer melt subjected to extensional flow. Samples are prepared via lubricated planar extensional flow and tested using two initial conditions: "parallel" with cylindrical microdomains oriented along the extensional flow direction and "perpendicular" with domains aligned transverse to the flow direction. The experiments employ a counter-rotating drum extensional flow fixture housed in an oven designed for in situ synchrotron access. The impacts of initial condition, extension rate, and final Hencky strain on the melt structure are analyzed both during and following flow. Stress and flow kinematics are strongly influenced by the initial sample orientation. While parallel samples exhibit uniaxial deformation, perpendicular samples exhibit planar extensional kinematics, attributed to susceptibility to compression along the cylindrical microdomain axis due to a microscopic buckling instability. Scattering data reveal both anisotropic deformation of microdomain spacing and reorientation induced by the flow. Persistence of higher order reflections confirms hexagonal packing throughout the flow process, and strong alignment along the stretching direction is attained for both initial conditions. Flow-induced deformation of microdomain spacing and mechanical stress relax on similar time scales upon flow cessation, while negligible relaxation of orientation is observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-956
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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