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ISRN Materials Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 732176, 24 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/732176
Review Article

Analytical Rheology of Polymer Melts: State of the Art

Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

Received 25 July 2012; Accepted 26 August 2012

Academic Editors: Y. Nakayama and A. O. Neto

Copyright © 2012 Sachin Shanbhag. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The extreme sensitivity of rheology to the microstructure of polymer melts has prompted the development of “analytical rheology,” which seeks inferring the structure and composition of an unknown sample based on rheological measurements. Typically, this involves the inversion of a model, which may be mathematical, computational, or completely empirical. Despite the imperfect state of existing models, analytical rheology remains a practically useful enterprise. I review its successes and failures in inferring the molecular weight distribution of linear polymers and the branching content in branched polymers.