Elongational flow of solutions of poly(ethylene oxide) and sulfonated surfactants

L. M. Smitter, J. C. Ruiz, M. E. Torres, A. J. Müller, A. E. Sáez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this work, the elongational flow behavior of aqueous solutions of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) was studied in the presence of sulfonated surfactants. The technique of opposed-jets flow was used to generate an elongational flow field in which pressure drops were measured as a function of strain rates. The surfactants used were sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS) and an α-olefin sulfonate (AOS). Solutions of PEO and other flexible polymers exhibit extension thickening in opposed-jets flow due to the formation of transient networks of entangled molecules. This effect is present at concentrations below the static coil overlap concentration, due to the changes in molecular conformation induced by the flow. When SDBS or AOS are added to PEO solutions at low concentrations, the extension thickening weakens due to an increase in PEO intramolecular interactions that lead to coil contraction. This occurs until the surfactant concentration is close to the critical aggregation concentration reported in the literature. Further addition of surfactant induces the formation of intermolecular interactions as the PEO molecules are expanded by the electrostatic repulsion between attached micellar aggregates, with an associated strengthening of extension thickening. Intramolecular effects were not seen beyond a specific PEO concentration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-397
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Elongational flow
  • Micellar aggregates
  • Poly(ethylene oxide)
  • Sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate
  • α-olefin sulfonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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