The extensional rheology of polymer melts and dilute polymer solutions has been extensively examined through experiments and theoretical predictions. However, a systematic study of the extensional rheology of polymer solutions in the semidilute regime, in terms of examining the effects of concentration and molecular weight, has not been carried out so far. Previous experimental studies of the shear rheology of semidilute polymer solutions have demonstrated that their behaviour is distinctively different from that observed in the dilute and concentrated regimes. This difference in behaviour is anticipated to be even more pronounced in extensional flows, which play a critical role in a number of industrial contexts such as fiber spinning and ink-jet printing. In this work, the extensional rheology of linear, double-stranded DNA molecules, spanning an order of magnitude of molecular weights (25-289 kilobasepairs) and concentrations (0.03-0.3 mg/ml), has been investigated. DNA solutions are now used routinely as model polymeric systems due to their near-perfect monodispersity. Measurements have been carried out with a filament stretching rheometer since it is the most reliable method for obtaining an estimate of the elongational stress growth of a polymer solution. Transient and steady-state uniaxial extensional viscosities of DNA dissolved in a solvent under excess salt conditions, with a high concentration of sucrose in order to achieve a sufficiently high solvent viscosity, have been determined in the semidilute regime at room temperature. The dependence of the steady state uniaxial extensional viscosity on molecular weight, concentration and extension rate is measured with a view to determining if data collapse can be observed with an appropriate choice of variables. Steady state shear viscosity measurements suggest that sucrose-DNA interactions might play a role in determining the observed rheological behaviour of semidilute DNA solutions with sucrose as a component in the solvent.
- double-stranded DNA
- filament stretching rheometer
- semidilute regime
- steady state
- uniaxial extensional viscosity