2012 | 416pp | £66.95
Reviewed by Daniel Read
‘Who needs another rheology book?’ asks the author in the preface. Well, perhaps a few do since (as he reasonably points out) many of the classic texts in this field are dauntingly mathematical, and a bit on the expensive side. Nevertheless, many students of polymer chemistry will recognise the value of rheology as an analytical tool, and as something worth knowing about if heading towards a position in industry. In this book, Montgomery Shaw aims to produce a readable text that covers the basics of polymer rheology, at a level accessible to a more mathematically minded chemistry undergraduate. Overall, I think he has succeeded.
The text begins with the basics of stress and strain, before discussing Newtonian fluids and the simpler deviations from this idealised behaviour such as shear thinning and normal stresses. A comprehensive chapter on experimental methods follows, before (in perhaps the most difficult chapter) examining the description of large strains. The concluding chapters point towards areas for further investigation, giving a cursory glance at molecular theory, polymer processing, quality control methods and mesostructured polymers; in these chapters, the industrial focus is obvious.
The writing style is clear and friendly throughout, but a couple of notes of caution are necessary. Firstly, the author very much assumes that his readers will be familiar with linear viscoelasticity, a topic covered in a previous book. I think this is a big assumption, especially for a UK chemistry undergraduate; the book could be more self-contained with an early chapter reviewing the essentials of this topic. Secondly, the author is very thorough in qualifying each statement, ensuring all caveats are known, and exposing the student to all possible variations in notation. Some will certainly welcome this – it is thorough – but it does sometimes delay the conceptual development.