Recent advances in the computational modeling of molecular conformational and orientational effects in the flow of viscoelastic fluids are described. These advances involve the coupling of molecular models for the underlying microstructure of macromolecules with the macroscopic equations of change. The kinetic theory for polymeric liquids is described along with the most useful micromechanical models for computing the fluid flow of polymeric liquids. Three levels of description are covered for the computation of molecular orientation effects: methods for molecular models for which closed-form, continuum-like evolution equations for average quantities describing molecular conformations can be obtained, hybrid methods that involve coupling direct solution of the Fokker-Planck equation describing the distribution function for molecular orientations with the equations of change, and hybrid methods that couple stochastic simulations of individual molecule trajectories with the macroscopic equations of change. Illustrative results for rheometric flows (flows with homogeneous, fixed kinematics) and complex flows are given.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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