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A model for nonlinear diffusion in polymers


Edwards, David A. (1994) A model for nonlinear diffusion in polymers. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/45KS-DN62.


In certain polymer-penetrant sytems, the effects of Fickian diffusion are augmented by nonlinear viscoelastic behavior. Consequently, such systems often exhibit concentration fronts unlike those seen in classical Fickian systems. These fronts not only are sharper than in standard systems, but also they propagate at speeds other than that typical of Fickian diffusion. A model is presented which replicates such behavior. This model is reduced to a moving boundary-value problem where the boundary separates the polymer into two distinct states: glassy and rubbery, in each of which different physical processes dominate. An unusual condition at the moving interface, which arises from the inclusion of a viscoelastic memory term, is not solvable by similarity solutions, but can be solved by integral equation techniques. Perturbation methods are used to obtain asymptotic solutions for differing strengths of molecular diffusion and viscoelastic stress. These solutions are characterized by sharp fronts which move with constant speed; the asymptotic solutions mimic those found experimentally in polymer-penetrant systems.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied And Computational Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Cohen, Donald S.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:29 March 1994
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-09092005-155000
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3401
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:12 Sep 2005
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 04:52

Thesis Files

PDF (Edwards_da_1994.pdf) - Final Version
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