The transient uniaxial extensional viscosity ηe of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) has been measured using the commercial Rheometric Scientific RME and the Münstedt Tensile Rheometer in an effort to compare the performance of available extensional rheometers. The RME indicated a significant strain hardening of the LLDPE, especially at a strain rate of 1 s-1. In contrast, the Münstedt rheometer showed the LLDPE to be only slightly strain hardening. This artificial strain hardening effect in the RME resulted from the strain rate applied to the sample, determined from the sample deformation, being up to 20% less than the set strain rate. These results initiated a round-robin experiment in which the same LLDPE was tested on several RMEs in various locations around the world. All but one of the RMEs indicated a deviation between set and applied strain rates of at least 10%, especially at strain rates above 0.1 s-1. The strain rate deviation was found to depend strongly on the value of the basis length Lo, and may result from the upper pair of belts not properly gripping the sample during extension. Thus visual inspection of the sample deformation is necessary to determine the applied strain rate. The most accurate measurements of ηe with respect to the strain rate deviation were obtained when the correct Lo value and belt arrangement were used. A list of recommendations for running an RME test is provided. Future work focusing on the fluid mechanics during the test may identify fully the cause of the strain rate deviation, but from a practical point of view the problem can be corrected for in the determination of ηe.
- Polymer melt
- Uniaxial extensional rheometry