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Keywords:

  • polymerization degree;
  • poly(vinyl alcohol);
  • solution rheology;
  • hydrogen bonding

Abstract

This work aims to study the impact of the degree of polymerization (Pn) on the rheological behavior of PVA solutions (15 wt %) under steady and oscillatory shear conditions. The values of Pn range from 1300 to 2400. The results show that PVA-13 solution exhibits almost Newtonian flow behavior, whereas high Pn PVA solutions exhibit shear thinning behavior, for which the complex viscosity increases with Pn. However, the shear viscosity of PVA-24 is lower than that of PVA-20 at low shear rate (<1 s−1). In addition, the storage modulus of PVA solutions increases with increasing degree of polymerization from 1300 to 2000. There is a sharp increase at degrees of polymerization higher than 1300. However, the storage modulus of PVA-24 is lower than that of PVA-17 and PVA-20 at low shear rate (<1 rad/s). The viscoelastic exponent of the PVA solutions shows a minimum value at degree of polymerization 2000. Thixotropy is detected by a hysteresis loop of the flow curves. The creep response of PVA solutions has also been investigated, with PVA-24 showing negligible compliance recovery. These facts indicate that increasing Pn produces a corresponding effect in varying the molecular structure and types of hydrogen bonding, including intra- and inter-chain, and polymer–water hydrogen bonding. Rheological parameters (G′, n, tanδ, J, and so on) can be used to evaluate the change in the molecular structure and type of hydrogen bonding. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010