Gel spinning is the industrial method of choice for combining hydrophilic ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polymer resins with a hydrophobic support polymer to produce composite filaments for cytapheresis. Cytapheresis is a medical technique for removal of leukocytes from blood. Gel spinning is used to avoid high melt viscosity and thermal sensitivity of UHMW resins and the high melt temperature of the substrate resin but requires the recovery of toxic solvents. The UHMW resin is used because it forms a stable gel phase in the presence of water; a lower molecular weight resin (LMW) simply dissolves. UHMW and LMW resins were both poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and the substrate was polyarylsulfone (PAS). The literature indicated PEO undergoes non-oxidative thermal degradation above 200 °C and PAS is processed up to 350 °C. Dynamic oscillatory shear rheometry was used to study 0, 25, 40, 50, 60, and 75 wt. % UHMW PEO in LMW PEO to take advantage of the sensitivity of viscosity to changes in molecular weight and material configuration, indicating degradation. Samples were exposed to 220 °C, 230 °C, 240 °C, 250 °C, 275 °C, and 300 °C temperatures for 5 min to explore conditions that could result in sample degradation. The viscosity decreased less with increasing UHMW PEO content for samples exposed to the same temperature and the viscosity decreased more with increasing exposure temperature for samples with the same UHMW PEO content. Parameters were regressed from observed data to predict the change in molecular weight via empiricisms relating the viscosity to molecular weight, shear rate, temperature, and time.
The rheology of ultra-high molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide) dispersed in a low molecular weight carrier
Craig D. Mansfied, Tianran Chen, Mubashir Q. Ansari, Donald G. Baird; The rheology of ultra-high molecular weight poly(ethylene oxide) dispersed in a low molecular weight carrier. Physics of Fluids 1 February 2022; 34 (2): 023304. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0077122
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