The progressive development of entanglements can be detected by observing strain patterns during increasing elongational strain rate where each stage is attributable to a transient network with a lifetime appropriate to the corresponding strain rate. The flow velocities are affected locally by transient network stretching, and this has pronounced influence on the macroscopic flow resistance (elongational viscosity). The latter should be highly relevant to the interpretation of continuum hydrodynamics of polymer solutions within elongational flow fields in terms of molecular behavior. The present work showd that this will only be possible by taking account of the "microstructure" in molecular strain and in the correspondingly modified flow velocities, arising as a consequence of the long relaxation times associated with the stretching of transient networks.
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