The SPE Library contains thousands of papers, presentations, journal briefs and recorded webinars from the best minds in the Plastics Industry. Spanning almost two decades, this collection of published research and development work in polymer science and plastics technology is a wealth of knowledge and information for anyone involved in plastics.
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A New Machine Conception for the Extrusion of Biodegradable Foams and the Influence of Process Parameters on Product Propert
Foamed products based on renewable raw material have a high application potential e.g. for packaging because of their biodegradeability. This may permit renewable raw materials to substitute polymers like polystyrene in some applications.A common way to process renewable raw material like starch is to produce starch based resins with twin screw extruders. These resins can be used on conventional polymer processing machines, but the step of compounding the starch on twin screw extruders causes costs which make these resins economically unattractive.Due to a new extrusion technology these costs can be reduced by a direct processing of starchy material like maize. A characteristic of this extruder is a very short (2 L/D), conic, multiple flighted screw in a barrel with spiral grooves. The energy for the plasticizing process is yielded just by the transfer of mechanical energy of the rotating screw into friction in a shear gap between screw and barrel.In order to understand the process different geometries of screw and barrel have been used in the experiments, additionally the process parameters have been varied. The results lead to an optimised configuration of the extruder and to a better understanding of the influence of process parameters on the product properties.
Effect of the Full-Slip Condition along Rotors on the Mixing Efficiency of Internal Mixers
The importance of slip for applications such as extrusion, cable coating, thermoforming, etc. has been widely discussed in the literature. Recent experimental works suggested that slipping along the rotors also impacts the quality of the mixing in batch mixers typically used for Carbon Black dispersion. In batch applications, the slip reduces the mixing efficiency, hence requiring a longer process to get a given mixing quality.Recent developments in CFD allow to include the slip in the numerical models. The advantage of numerical simulation is the ability to turn on or off this phenomenon. Also, the effect of particles behavior along the rotors on both the flow pattern and the mixing efficiency of internal mixer is studied. Two 3D transient simulations are performed with the POLYFLOW package: one simulation assumes sticking boundary conditions along the rotors whereas the other involves a full slip condition.The results obtained in both simulations are compared and validated against experimental results: the slip condition modifies dramatically both the velocity and the shear rate fields. Therefore, the distributive and dispersive mixings generated by the two models are significantly different. Eventually, we observe a better match between numerical and experimental results when the slip condition is taken into account.
Effect of Morpholgy on Mechanical Properties of Composites Prepared by Reaction-Induced Phase Separation
A new class of fiber-reinforced composite materials was designed in our laboratory by using a hybrid of thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. The thermosetting polymer phase separates upon curing reaction and creates morphology on the fiber surfaces. Effect of the morphology is studied on the fracture toughness of the composite, with the aim of enhancing the mechanical properties of the resulting fiber reinforced composite.
NMR Analysis for a Secret Ingredient
Finding very small amounts of a secret compound in complex mixtures presents a big challenge for analysts. A dispute between two companies involved building plasters with a polymer viscosity modifier. The case hinged on confidential information about the exact structure of the polymer, which one company had apparently taken illicitly from the other. FTIR revealed little, so NMR was used to identify the compound in deuterated DMF extracts from the plasters. They showed that the plasters possessed compounds of identical structure. The case was settled without trial.
Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites: Tailoring Structures with Processing Conditions
Nanocomposites based on nylon-12 and synthetic fluoromica were compounded using a single-screw extruder at different combination of shear and residence time and analysed with respect to their morphology, rheological, mechanical, and thermal properties. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) revealed unique structural arrays of the exfoliated layers which were found to be dependent on the extent of shear and residence time during processing. Rheological analysis showed that the melt viscosity of the nanocomposites was considerably lower compared to the unfilled polymer. Furthermore the melt viscosity and properties of each nanocomposite varied depending on orientation of the exfoliated layers. The results show that it may be possible to tailor the structures and properties of the nanocomposites using controlled extrusion conditions.
Some New Observations Relative to Melting in Single Screw Extruders
The focus of this investigation was to evaluate literature and run experiments to help understand the mechanism of melting in single screw extruders. Literature data was re-analyzed using video capture and analysis programs to determine the rate of loss of material in the cross channel and solid bed thickness directions. The analysis demonstrates that the polymer solid bed goes to zero dimension in the thickness direction well before the solid bed width is consumed. This observation was confirmed in our laboratory using a specially built glass barrel extruder. These results suggest that the melting in single screw extruders is dominated by the loss of bed thickness and not bed width as predicted by current literature.
The Influence of Morphology on the Failure of Polyethylene Pipes in Hydrostatic Pressure Tests
Failure times of plastic and metal pipes subjected to hydrostatic pressure at various levels assist pipe manufacturers to not only design pipes for certain applications, but also to give them an indication of the useful service life-times of these pipes. In order to understand the influence exerted by semicrystalline morphology on the failure of polyethylene pipes under hydrostatic pressure, a medium-density polyethylene resin was converted into various pipes by altering the extrusion processing conditions. These pipes were subsequently subjected to hydrostatic pressure at a constant hoop stress and the failure times were recorded. The failure times were observed to depend strongly on the morphology of the pipes.
Computer Aided Troubleshooting of Extrusion Problems
When a problem occurs in an extrusion operation it is important to diagnose the problem, determine possible solutions, and implement the best solution in the shortest possible time. In-house personnel are often not well trained in efficient troubleshooting techniques and problem solving. Outside technical assistance may not be immediately available and may not lead to an expedient solution of the problem. As a result, it is important for extrusion companies to have tools available in-house that can help in the troubleshooting and problem solving process.A new tool available to the plastics industry is an expert system that allows computer aided troubleshooting of extrusion problems. This program allows the user to systematically analyze a large number of extrusion problems. In the end the program presents the user with a number of possible solutions to the problem. This paper will describe the capabilities of the program.
Study of the Micropelletization Process
A study has been performed to examine the rheological impact of micropelletization on several polyethylene grades with melt index values between 1-5 g/10 min. The experiments were done on a 50 mm 30:1 L/D extruder with an underwater micropelletizer attached. A 2-D finite element simulation was used to assist in the analysis by comparing the observed results to the predicted shear stresses in the die. The average micropellet size collected was 0.525 mm diameter. Minor sharkskin was observed on the surface of micropellets due to the high stresses experienced in the pelletizer die. However, the rheological properties of the micropellets did not change in comparison to the virgin resins.
Detecting Defects and the Onset of Failure of Adhesive Bonds Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy
Tape sensors were mounted on the adherends and the health of the adhesive bonds was studied by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Results show that EIS measurements can discriminate bonded and unbonded areas in CFRP-Al systems. The EIS measurements are also sensitive to the weakening of adhesive bonds caused by exposure to humidity at high temperatures.
Microscopy and X-Ray Elemental Spectroscopy in Failure Analysis: Case Studies
Optical and Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques, coupled with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDS) are effective tools in investigating the cause of failures in articles made from plastics. Practical examples and findings are reviewed that have been used to solve customer problems in real world applications.
Thermal Properties of ? Nucleated Polypropylenes
Commercially available isotactic polypropylene (iPP) was modified by various amounts of a specific ?- nucleating agent. Isothermal crystallization and subsequent melting behavior were analyzed using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The findings resulting from this work (such as crystallization halftimes, other kinetics parameters, glass transition temperatures, etc.) can significantly assist to explain not a few open questions concerning ?-nucleated polypropylenes and their processing.
High Thermal Conductivity Shape Memory Polymers
The ability for shape memory polymers (SMPs) to quickly actuate upon exposure to a heat transfer fluid or radiative heating depends significantly on thermal conductivity and heat capacity. Recognizing this, we have pursued the enhancement of thermal conductivity of several SMPs - developed previously in our laboratory - through the addition of thermally conductive inorganic filler. Our presentation will focus on both thermal and thermomechanical analyses for filled and crosslinked polycyclooctene, revealing the dependence of thermal conductivity and shape memory response on filler loading.
Processing Nanocomposites on a Kneader Reciprocating Single Screw Compounding System
Interest in nanocomposites is based on the premise that with a relatively small loading of properly dispersed treated clay, polymers can exhibit substantial improvement in properties. These include thermal properties such as HDT, mechanical properties such as flexural strength and modulus (without significant loss of impact), barrier properties, flame resistance, and abrasion resistance. While the concept behind nanocomposites is sound, implementation has been flawed. Dispersion of 8 micron clay particles into a million or so high aspect ratio platelets is a difficult task. Both chemical modification of the clay for improved compatibility, and development of specific compounding technology have shown promise but not been fully successful. In previous work (1) unit operations that have significant impact on clay dispersion in the co-rotation twin-screw extruder were identified. This presentation will review the design flexibility associated with the reciprocating single screw, or kneader, compounding system and discuss key unit operations necessary to obtain well dispersed clay. It will also compare results from the reciprocating single screw system with those obtained from previous work on a twin-screw extruder.
Wave Interfacial Instabilities at Coextrusion in Flat Dies: Simulation and Experimental Research
The work presents both, simulation and experimental findings of the research of two LDPE melts using a flat coextrusion flow visualization cell. The simulation is performed by FEM analysis with full u-v-p-? numerical scheme employing viscoelastic constitutive equations. The predicted stresses, velocities and interface location have been found to be in a good agreement with the measurements. The experimental analysis shows that pronounced wave instabilities are caused by the minor layer break at the merge point of the layers, and extensional viscosity is a driving parameter here. Finally, recently proposed ‘TNSD sign criterion‘ has been successfully tested for the prediction of the onset of wave interfacial instabilities in this type of the die geometry.
Experimental Observations and Analysis of LDPE Melt Flow in Coextrusion Geometries
The study of two low density polyethylene melt flows in slit coextrusion flow cells with 30° and 90° confluent geometries is presented. The stream flows and polymerpolymer interface in the confluent region and die land are observed through side windows of the cell. Birefringence and image processing techniques are used to quantify stress and velocity fields in the upstream and down stream melt flows. Interfacial instabilities were observed in the LDPE melt flows in both geometries. Instabilities occurred at certain stream mass flow ratios. Digital image processing shows the wave type extrudate instabilities have the same periodicity as perturbation in the flow field in the die land. A recently proposed “TNSD sign criterion” reasonably predicted the onset of the interfacial instabilities in these die geometries.
A Non-Isothermal 3D FEM Study of Spiral Mandrel Dies with Non-Symmetrical Input
The design of an optimal spiral mandrel die suited to given requirements is quite a complicated task for the die designer. Even for a properly designed spiral section, there is always a question how variations in the flow prior to the spiral channels can influence the melt distribution at the exit of the spiral distribution section. This study uses 3D FEM analysis to investigate an effect of having uneven inputs. Specifically, the influence of uneven mass and temperature input distributions are studied. The influence of the die distributive system is investigated by analyzing the temperature and velocity fields at the exit.
Sensitivity of Flow Distribution and Flow Patterns in Profile Extrusion Dies
Fluctuations of the operating conditions or slight variations of the polymer rheology may occur during longterm productions, affecting the performance of the die in an extent dependent on its flow distribution sensitivity. In this work, four extrusion dies are optimised (balanced) using different design methodologies. These are compared in terms of their performance and stability to some operating conditions and polymer rheological properties. A finite-volume based computational code is used to perform the required simulations of the non-isothermal three-dimensional flows, under conditions defined by a statistical Taguchi technique. Correlation between the flow patterns developed and flow distribution sensitivity is also investigated.
Method for Measuring the Kinetics of Isometric Crystallization of Thermoplastic Sheets and Patient Fixation Devices
A new method for crystallization kinetics of stretched polymer samples and real size polymer articles under isometric conditions is developed. The internal shrinkage force caused by the volume contraction of the sample during crystallization is measured incessantly. The kinetics parameters of isometric crystallization are calculated by the Avrami equation and discussed in terms of controlled molecular structure and design of large polymer sheet samples and of patient fixation devices for medical application in radiation therapy.
Viscosity of Blowing Agent Laden Polymer
The viscosity of a blowing agent laden polymer was measured using a Helical Barrel Rheometer (HBR). Temperature, pressure and shear rate dependence of viscosity at a fixed blowing agent concentration was computed from the experimental data. Technique was developed to identify the onset of bubble nucleation by measuring the shear viscosity as function of hydrostatic pressure.
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