Injection molding: Overview

Process Schematic

Injection molding is used extensively for the manufacture of polymeric items. A reciprocating/rotating screw both melts polymer pellets and provides the pressure required to quickly inject the melt into a cold mold. The polymer cools in the mold and the part is ejected. Injection molding machines are sized primarily by the force available in the mold clamping unit; ranging from 20 tons in laboratory machines to over 5000 tons in large commercial machines.

References
Gerd Potsch, Injection Molding: An Introduction, Hanser Publishers, New York (1995) ISBN 1-569-90193-7.

Reaction injection molding:

Process Schematic

Reaction injection molding (RIM) is a processing technique for the formation of polymer parts by direct polymerization in the mold through a mixing activated reaction. A simplified process schematic is shown at right. Two reactive monomeric liquids, designated in the figure as A and B, are mixed together by impingement and injected into the mold. In the mold, polymerization and usually phase separation occur, the part solidifies, and is then ejected. Primary uses for RIM products include automotive parts, business machine housings, and furniture.

References

C.W. Macosko, RIM, Fundamentals of Reaction Injection Molding, Hanser Publishers, New York (1989) ISBN 3-446-15196-6.

Film blowing: Overview

Process Schematic

The majority of polymer films are manufactured by film blowing (blown film extrusion). A single screw extruder is used to melt the polymer and pump it into a tubular die, as shown in cross-section at right. Air is blown into the center of the extruded tube and causes it to expand in the radial direction. Extension of the melt in both the radial and down-stream direction stops at the freeze line (frost line) due to crystallization of the melt. The nip rolls collect the film, as well as sealing the top of the bubble to maintain the air pressure inside. This process is used extensively with polyethylene and polypropylene.

References

J.F. Agassant, P. Avenas, J.Ph. Sergent, P.J. Carreau, Polymer Processing Principles and Modeling, Hanser, New York (1986). ISBN 0-19-520864-1, pages 252262.

Extrusion: Overview

Process Schematic

Single screw extrusion is one of the core operations in polymer processing and is also a key component in many other processing operations. The foremost goal of a single screw extrusion process is to build pressure in a polymer melt so that it can be extruded through a die or injected into a mold. Most machines are plasticating: they bring in solids in pellet or powder form and melt them as well as building pressure.

References

J.L. White, Twin Screw Extrusion: Technology and Principles, Hanser Publishers, New York (1991) ISBN 3446156917.

Overview

Process Schematic

Twin screw extrusion is used extensively for mixing, compounding, or reacting polymeric materials. The flexibility of twin screw extrusion equipment allows this operation to be designed specifically for the formulation being processed. For example, the two screws may be corotating or counterrotating, intermeshing or nonintermeshing. In addition, the configurations of the screws themselves may be varied using forward conveying elements, reverse conveying elements, kneading blocks, and other designs in order to achieve particular mixing characteristics.

References

J.L. White, Twin Screw Extrusion: Technology and Principles, Hanser Publishers, New York (1991) ISBN 3446156917.

Dry spinning: Overview

Process Schematic

Dry spinning is used to form polymeric fibers from solution. The polymer is dissolved in a volatile solvent and the solution is pumped through a spinneret (die) with numerous holes (one to thousands). As the fibers exit the spinneret, air is used to evaporate the solvent so that the fibers solidify and can be collected on a take-up wheel. Stretching of the fibers provides for orientation of the polymer chains along the fiber axis. Cellulose acetate (acetone solvent) is an example of a polymer which is dry spun commercially in large volumes. Due to safety and environmental concerns associated with solvent handling this technique is used only for polymers which cannot be melt spun.

References

A. Ziabicki, Fundamentals of Fiber Formation, Wiley, New York (1976). ISBN 0471982202. A more detailed study of dry spinning is : Y. Ohzawa, Y. Nagano, and T. Matsuo, J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 13, pp. 257-283 (1969).

Melt Spinning: Overview

Process Schematic

Melt spinning is the preferred method of manufacture for polymeric fibers. The polymer is melted and pumped through a spinneret (die) with numerous holes (one to thousands). The molten fibers are cooled, solidified, and collected on a take-up wheel. Stretching of the fibers in both the molten and solid states provides for orientation of the polymer chains along the fiber axis. Polymers such as poly(ethylene terephthalate) and nylon 6,6 are melt spun in high volumes.

References

A. Ziabicki, Fundamentals of Fiber Formation, Wiley, New York (1976). ISBN 0471982202. A classic article which emphasizes structure development during melt spinning is: J.R. Dees and J.E. Spruiell, J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 18, pp. 1053-1078 (1974).

Filament winding: Overview

Process Schematic

Filament winding is used for the manufacture of parts with high fiber volume fractions and controlled fiber orientation. Fiber tows are immersed in a resin bath where they are coated with low or medium molecular weight reactants. The impregnated tows are then literally wound around a mandrel (mold core) in a controlled pattern to form the shape of the part. After winding, the resin is then cured, typically using heat. The mold core may be removed or may be left as an integral component of the part.

A comprehensive reference on filament winding is: Filament Winding: Its Development, Manufacture, Applications, and Design D.V. Rosato, Interscience Publishers, New York (1964).

Calendering

Thermoforming

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