Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of dilute polymer solutions in flow

Folarin Latinwo, Kai Wen Hsiao, Charles M. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modern materials processing applications and technologies often occur far from equilibrium. To this end, the processing of complex materials such as polymer melts and nanocomposites generally occurs under strong deformations and flows, conditions under which equilibrium thermodynamics does not apply. As a result, the ability to determine the nonequilibrium thermodynamic properties of polymeric materials from measurable quantities such as heat and work is a major challenge in the field. Here, we use work relations to show that nonequilibrium thermodynamic quantities such as free energy and entropy can be determined for dilute polymer solutions in flow. In this way, we determine the thermodynamic properties of DNA molecules in strong flows using a combination of simulations, kinetic theory, and single molecule experiments. We show that it is possible to calculate polymer relaxation timescales purely from polymer stretching dynamics in flow. We further observe a thermodynamic equivalence between nonequilibrium and equilibrium steady-states for polymeric systems. In this way, our results provide an improved understanding of the energetics of flowing polymer solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number174903
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Nov 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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