SHEAR RHEOMETRY PROTOCOLS TO ADVANCE THE DEVELOPMENT OF MICROSTRUCTURED FLUIDS
This doctoral dissertation takes the reader through a journey where applied shear rheology and flow-velocimetry are used to understand the mesoscopic factors that control the flow behavior of three microstructured fluids. Three individual protocols that measure relative physical and mechanical properties of the flow are developed. Each protocol aims to advance the particular transformation of novel soft materials into a commercial product converging in the demonstration of the real the chemical, physical and thermodynamical factors that could potentially drive their successful transformation.
First, this dissertation introduces the use of rotational and oscillatory shear rheometry to quantify the solvent evaporation effect on the flow behavior of polymer solutions used to fabricate isoporous asymmetric membranes. Three different A-B-C triblock copolymer were evaluated: polyisoprene-b-polystyrene-b-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (ISV); polyisoprene-b-polystyrene-b-poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) (ISD); and polyisoprene-b-polystyrene-b-poly(tert-butyl methacrylate) (ISB). The resulting evaporation-induced microstructure showed a solution viscosity and film viscoelasticity strongly dependent on the chemical structure of the triblock copolymer molecules.
Furthermore, basic shear rheometry, flow birefringence, and advanced flow-velocimetry are used to deconvolute the flow-microstructure relationships of concentrated surfactant solutions. Sodium laureth sulfate in water (SLE1S) was used to replicate spherical, worm-like, and hexagonally packed micelles and lamellar structures. Interesting findings demonstrated that regular features of flow curves, such as power-law shear thinning behavior, resulted from a wide variety of experimental artifacts that appeared when measuring microstructured fluids with shear rheometry.
Finally, the successful integration of shear rheometry to calculate essential parameters to be used in a cost-effective visualization technique (still in development) used to calculate the dissolution time of polymers is addressed. The use of oscillatory rheometry successfully quantify the viscoelastic response of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solutions and identify formulations changes such as additive addition. The flow behavior of PVA solutions was correlated to dissolution behavior proving that the developed protocol has a high potential as a first screening tool.