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Channel flow of a liquid crystal polymer around an obstacle: Weld line structure and strain field

Abstract : We have studied by in situ microscopy the flow of a lyotropic liquid crystal polymer, hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC) in water, around an obstacle placed in a rectangular flow channel. The obstacle separates the flow into two parts which rejoin downstream of the obstacle, resulting in the formation of a `weld-line'. Measuring the velocity field in the vicinity of the weld-line beyond the obstacle, we find as expected a positive elongational strain (acceleration) along the weld (parallel to the flow direction). For an anisotropic (concentrated) HPC solution we observe in addition a significant shear strain in the weld-line region, there being an important velocity gradient perpendicular to the plane of the weld line. Isotropic (lower concentration) solutions of the same polymer demonstrate no visible weld line, a larger elongational strain rate near the obstacle, and no shear component of strain downstream of the obstacle. These results are similar to observations reported for fluids reinforced by macroscopic fibres. Polarised light observations of the anisotropic solution show that the strain field generates a generally increased degree of orientation of the liquid crytalline polymer near the weld (generally reduced crossed-polariser transmitted intensity when the polariser is parallel to the flow direction), however there is also a striking fine birefringent colour variation in the weld-line region, reminiscent of the structure observed at the channel side walls in rectangular channel flow (Haw and Navard 2000). The results show that the simple concept of weld-line structure as confined to an enhanced alignment along the weld due to elongational strain is incomplete; the two-dimensional shear strain field must also be taken into account for the anisotropic fluid.
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Submitted on : Friday, March 4, 2011 - 5:23:11 PM
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Mark D. Haw, Patrick Navard. Channel flow of a liquid crystal polymer around an obstacle: Weld line structure and strain field. Rheologica Acta, Springer Verlag, 2000, 39 (9), p. 271-279. ⟨10.1007/s003970000076⟩. ⟨hal-00573826⟩



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