Nematic polymer mechanics: Flow-induced anisotropy

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In this paper, we model and compute flow-induced mechanical properties of nematic polymer nano-composites, consisting of transversely isotropic rigid spheroids in an isotropic matrix. Our goal is to fill a gap in the theoretical literature between random and perfectly aligned spheroidal composites (Odegard et al. in Compos. Sci. Technol. 63, 1671-1687, 2003; Gusev et al. in Adv. Eng. Mater. 4(12), 927-931 2002; Torquato in Random heterogeneous materials. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2002; Milton in The Theory of Composites. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002) by modeling the influence of nano-particle volume fraction, flow type and flow rate on nano-composite elasticity tensors. As these influences vary, we predict the degree of elastic anisotropy, determining the number of independent moduli, and compute their values relative to the nano-particle and matrix moduli. We restrict here to monodomains, addressing features associated with orientational configurations of the rod or platelet ensemble. The key modeling advance is the transfer of symmetries (Forest et al. in Phys. Fluids 12(3), 490-498, 2000) and numerical databases (Forest et al. in Rheol. Acta 43(1), 17-37, 2004a, Rheol. Acta 44(1), 80-93, 2004b) for the orientational probability distribution function of the nematic polymer ensemble into the classical Mori-Tanaka effective elasticity tensor formalism. Isotropic, transversely isotropic, orthotropic, monoclinic, and maximally anisotropic elasticity tensors are realized as volume fraction, imposed flow type and flow strength are varied, with 2, 5, 9, 13 or 21 independent moduli for the various symmetries. © Springer-Verlag 2007.

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Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics

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