Shear-thickening behavior of high molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide) solutions

Daniela Rivero, Laura M. Gouveia, Alejandro J. Müller, A. Eduardo Sáez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Simple shear rheological properties of solutions of a high molecular weight (8 × 10 6 g/mol) poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and its mixtures with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) have been studied. Shear-thickening effects set in at a critical shear rate for PEO solutions. This particular behavior has not been reported for aqueous solutions of PEO, to our knowledge. The effect is attributed to PEO flow-induced self-aggregation. The experiments were performed in different operation modes (strain rate and stress controlled) and with different geometries (double wall Couette and Couette) and identical viscosities were obtained, which rules out flow instabilities as possible cause for the shear-thickening effect. Shear thickening was observed in the temperature range 15-50°C. Flow-induced PEO degradation occurs for shear rates in the shear-thickening regime, which indicates substantial chain deformation and accumulated stresses in the molecule when shear thickening occurs. Addition of SDS to the PEO solutions induces the formation of surfactant polymer complexes that preserve the characteristic shear-thickening effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Couette flow
  • Poly(ethylene oxide)
  • Shear thickening
  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science


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