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Title: Visualization of polymer relaxation in viscoelastic turbulent micro-channel flow
Authors: Tai, Jiayan
Lim, Chun Ping
Lam, Yee Cheong
Issue Date: 2015
Source: Tai, J., Lim, C. P., & Lam, Y. C. (2015). Visualization of polymer relaxation in viscoelastic turbulent micro-channel flow. Scientific Reports, 5, 16633-.
Series/Report no.: Scientific Reports
Abstract: In micro-channels, the flow of viscous liquids e.g. water, is laminar due to the low Reynolds number in miniaturized dimensions. An aqueous solution becomes viscoelastic with a minute amount of polymer additives; its flow behavior can become drastically different and turbulent. However, the molecules are typically invisible. Here we have developed a novel visualization technique to examine the extension and relaxation of polymer molecules at high flow velocities in a viscoelastic turbulent flow. Using high speed videography to observe the fluorescein labeled molecules, we show that viscoelastic turbulence is caused by the sporadic, non-uniform release of energy by the polymer molecules. This developed technique allows the examination of a viscoelastic liquid at the molecular level, and demonstrates the inhomogeneity of viscoelastic liquids as a result of molecular aggregation. It paves the way for a deeper understanding of viscoelastic turbulence, and could provide some insights on the high Weissenberg number problem. In addition, the technique may serve as a useful tool for the investigations of polymer drag reduction.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/srep16633
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Journal Articles

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