A general basis for discussing nonlinearity in the flow of molecular fluids consists in applying the continuum mechanics of Coleman and Noll to a flow process governed by an Arrhenius activation energy equation. The theory predicts the familiar exponential increase of viscosity with pressure and a decrease in viscosity with high shear stress, and also predicts the existence of “normal stresses” under high shear stress. Schematic calculations are presented for the behavior of a lubricant under extreme stress.

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