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Abstract

Using the theoretical approach of Bersted and Slee, we developed a technique of determining the molecular weight distribution (MWD) from the viscosity vs. shear rate flow curve. Each molecular weight fraction was assumed to have a characteristic deformation rate. Below this rate, the viscosity was equal to the zero shear value. Above this rate, the viscosity was reduced to the zero shear viscosity of the molecular weight characteristic of the higher rate. The relationship between the weight fraction of each component and the viscosity/rate curve was derived from these assumptions. The flow curves of very well-characterized polystyrenes were determined. MWDs were then calculated using the BerstedSlee approach and compared with results from size exclusion chromatography. Comparisons were also made with the results of Malkin and Teishev. They used the same assumptions as Bersted and Slee but chose a different methodology for determining the MWD.