Lubricated optical rheometer for the study of two-dimensional complex flows of polymer melts

J. Soulages, T. Schweizer, D. C. Venerus, J. Hostettler, F. Mettler, M. Kröger, H. C. Öttinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We describe a novel optical cross-slot channel rheometer generating two-dimensional and isothermal complex flows of polymer melts. This is made possible by lubricating the channel front and back viewing windows. Flow-induced birefringence and particle tracking velocimetry are reviewed and used to investigate the cross-slot flow of a low density polyethylene melt involving mixed shear and planar extensional deformations. This new device solves the issue of end effects in flow birefringence experiments where no variations of the optical properties along the light path are expected. It greatly facilitates the interpretation of stress field data by providing reliable measurements of the polymer melt extinction angle χ and retardation δ, with a spatial resolution of one tenth of a millimeter. At the same time, it offers an enhanced temperature control and an increased optical accuracy due to an improved laser beam shaping. The capabilities and performances of this unique type of lubricated rheometer are discussed in detail and compared with previous approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 14 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • End effects
  • Flow-induced birefringence
  • Lubrication
  • Particle tracking velocimetry
  • Polymer melt
  • Stagnation flow
  • Two-dimensional flow


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