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the IRIS Rheology Tool Kit

Teaching and Research with the IRIS Rheology Platform

The two main uses of IRIS are educational and professional. Iris is designed as interactive teaching tool for use in the class room and in teaching laboratories; however, it is equally well suited for the professional work of material scientists:

(1) IRIS for Teaching Using IRIS with a standard projector attached to the PC, the instructor enriches his/her teaching with interactive graphics in class. For example, the IRIS program allows you to perform time-temperature superposition in real time, to calculate the relaxation time spectrum immediately after that, and then to graph of all kinds of material functions. All of this is done within minutes so that teaching proceeds at normal pace. Predictions from analytical expressions (Rouse, Doi-Edwards, Tube Dilation, Molecular Stress Function, NAPLES) can be pulled in and graphed next to the data for comparison. In this way, the students directly participate in the data processing and and in the evaluation of theory. They receive references to the related publications so that they can be asked to follow up with a reading assignment in the accompanying text. Teacher and student jointly explore the beauty and usefulness of rheology. Many variations are possible depending on topic and advancement of the class.

The program is designed so that students with minimal training can begin to adventure into rheology by themselves. This ‘hands-on’ approach allows the student to get a feeling for rheological data, their analysis, and their application. They can explore theoretical predictions. Theory and experiments become tangible and 'real'.

(2) IRIS for the Professional With IRIS, you can analyze and scrutinize rheological data from a wide range of rheometers, design effective experiments, determine the rheological parameters, and use these parameters for flow predictions of interest. The resulting data are the starting point for flow calculations (Polyflow modeling, for instance). The interactive graphics of IRIS visualize differences and common features of materials, detect systematic trends in the relaxation patterns (see for instance the study of Baumgärtel, Schausberger, and Winter, Rheologica Acta 29, 400, 1990), monitor phase transitions, or single out specific relaxation modes. Rheological data get scrutinized for inconsistencies (Winter, 1997). As inconsistencies in the data become apparent, methods can be devised to improve the rheometrical experiment. Large sections of IRIS are devoted to time-temperature superposition, conversion of dynamic data into relaxation time spectra, and linear viscoelastic modeling. Recent additions in IRIS compare these experimental findings with theoretical predictions for well defined classes of materials.

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