Eric Scribben, Donald G. Baird, and Peter Wapperom

The role of transient rheology in polymeric coalescence

Rheologica Acta 45 (2006) 825-839


The initial theory of Frenkel and Eshelby for the coalescence of drops in air (or sintering) of Newtonian fluids, which equated the work of surface tension to the work done by viscous stresses while assuming biaxial extensional flow kinematics, was extended to the case of time dependent material functions using the Upper Convected Maxwell (UCM) model. A numerical scheme was developed to solve the ordinary differential equations (ODE) for the stresses which are embedded in the ODE based on the mechanical energy balance. Initial conditions required to solve the set of non-linear ODEs were obtained from visualization experiments of the coalescing drops as the theory for elastic contact gave unrealistically high values of the initial neck radius. The transient model predicted that coalescence was accelerated by increasing the relaxation time, the opposite relationship of what was predicted by the steady state UCM formulation, and was capable of quantitatively predicting the experimental coalescence rates at times when viscoelasticity was important.


Sintering; Coalescence; polypropylene; transient viscosity; upper convected Maxwell model