Unstable slit flow of a liquid crystalline polymer solution

Bruce D. Bedford, David K. Cinader, Wesley Roth Burghardt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A lyotopic solution of 27 wt% hydroxypropylcellulose [HPC] in m-cresol has been studied in pressure-driven slit flow. At high flow rates an instability leads to large wavelength disturbances in fluid structure. A combination of image analysis and time signal processing is used to determine the velocity at which the structural disturbances are convected downstream, which is shown to be equal to the independently measured and predicted centerline velocity. This implies that the disturbance structure is confined near the midplane of the slit flow. Upstream of the onset point of the wavy fluid structures, the fluid exhibits unusual optical properties when viewed between crossed polarizers that are rotated relative to the flow direction. Specifically, the optical properties indicate that there must be some variation in the macroscopic optical axis of the sample as light passes through the slit flow. A discrete optical model consisting of birefringent elements twisted away from and back to the flow direction as a function of depth in the sample is able to predict the essential optical characteristics; however, independent x-ray scattering measurements show that the macroscopic molecular alignment is along the flow direction. The wavy textures apparently emerge as a result of an inhomogeneous transition of orientation back to the flow direction, trapping thin bands of fluid in the twisted configuration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-396
Number of pages13
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • Birefringence
  • Hydroxypropyl-cellulose
  • Slit flow instability
  • X-ray scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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