Polymer extrusion is an energy intensive process, which is often run at less than optimal conditions. The extrusion process consists of gradual melting of solid polymer by thermal conduction and viscous shearing between a rotating screw and a barrel; as such it is highly dependent upon the frictional, thermal and rheological properties of the polymer. Extruder screw geometry and extrusion variables should ideally be tailored to suit the properties of individual polymers, but in practice this is rarely achieved due to the lack of understanding of the process. Here, in-process monitoring techniques have been used to characterise the thermal dynamics of the extrusion process. Novel thermocouple grid sensors have been used to measure melt temperature fields within flowing polymer melts at the entrance to an extruder die in conjunction with infra-red thermometers and real-time quantification of energy consumption. A commercial grade of polyethylene has been examined using three extruder screw geometries at different extrusion operating conditions to understand the process efficiency. Extruder screw geometry, screw rotation speed and set temperature were found to have a significant effect on the thermal homogeneity of the melt and process energy consumed.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Applied Thermal Engineering|
|Early online date||24 Apr 2012|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 2 May 2013|
- Melt temperature
- Polymer extrusion