The thermal lubrication of an entangled polymeric liquid in wall-driven shear flows between parallel plates is investigated by using a multiscale hybrid method, coupling molecular dynamics and hydrodynamics (i.e., the synchronized molecular dynamics method). The temperature of the polymeric liquid rapidly increases due to viscous heating once the drive force exceeds a certain threshold value, and the rheological properties drastically change at around the critical drive force. In the weak viscous-heating regime, the conformation of polymer chains is dominated by the flow field so that the polymers are more elongated as the drive force increases. However, in the large viscous-heating regime, the conformation dynamics is dominated by the thermal agitation of polymer chains so that the conformation of polymers recovers more uniform and random structures as the drive force increases, even though the local shear flows are further enhanced. Remarkably, this counter-intuitive transitional behavior gives an interesting re-entrant transition in the stress–optical relation, where the linear stress–optical relation approximately holds even though each of the macroscopic quantities behaves nonlinearly. Furthermore, the shear thickening behavior is also observed in the large viscous-heating regime—this was not observed in a series of previous studies on an unentangled polymer fluid. This qualitative difference of the thermo-rheological property between the entangled and unentangled polymer fluids gives completely different velocity profiles in the thermal lubrication system.
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