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SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Faculty of Engineering & Industrial Sciences


HES 3281 Materials and Manufacturing 2

Processing and testing of polypropylene

Laboratory: Polymer processing and testing laboratory

1. Why there is deviation in the mechanical testing results of injection moulded


samples?

During injection moulding due to changes in the operating conditions and also due to slight
differences in the material used stresses can be created in the object which can result in a range
of results that can be obtained when an object is tested for its mechanical properties. Three main
factors that can affect the results of the tests are

1. Flow Balancing – Care should be taken to have equal volume flow rate in all the channels
the melt flows through so that molded in stress is avoided. This is practically a difficult
task since there are differences in distances to the edges of the molded object. To try and
get a more balanced flow of melt flow leaders are used in industry.

2. Heat Balancing – When there isn’t uniform heating of the object the melt cools unevenly
resulting in different flow rates of the melt.

3. Freezing Time- The time it takes for the melt to cool plays a vital role in the results an
object can give. The melt should reach all edges of the mould before cooling should
begin and ideally it should cool evenly so that residual stresses are avoided.

Some mechanical tests and ways deviation can happen have been listed below.

Tensile Strength & Elongation -


• Change in molding temperature
• Change in injection speed
• Change in injection pressure

Flexural Modulus/Strength -
• Change in melt temperature
• Change in injection speed
• Change in injection pressure

Notched IZOD Impact -


• Change in mold temp
• Change in melt temperature
Besides the above test’s due to shrinking, warping, or excessive use of regrind material the
mechanical properties of samples from the same batch of products can slightly vary and give
different results.

In conclusion it can be seen that the main factor that can determine the mechanical properties of
products that are being injection molded is the heat exchange process. If that can be controlled
most products made from the same mold should give similar results under mechanical testing.

2. Determination of polypropylene Melt Flow Index.

Standards: ASTM D 1238 (US standard)


Testing equipment: CEA7024F CEAST (Italy)
Settings: Temperature 230 °C, weight 2.16 kg

Method:
Prepare 6 g of PP in granular form.
Prepare the correct weight and place next to the instrument.
Insert the piston in the barrel for a few minutes (preheating).
Press start on the main menu.
Fill in the field operator your group number.
Press start.
When the temperature is reached the set value insert material in the barrel and manually compact
it using a provided tool.
Insert the preheated piston.
Preheat the material without weight till the acoustic signal.
Manually place the test weight on the piston.
The instrument automatically begins measurements when the set position is reached.
Cut the extruded filament at the end of the test.

The instrument will guide the operator by emitting an acoustic signal at the beginning and
at the end of each test.

Measure weight of the extruded fillament and insert data.


Print out the results

Clean the piston, barrel and the die. Remember to wear thermaly insulated gloves.

Polypropelene MFI (MFR)

Results

Mass flow rate (g/10 min)

• Mean 46.165

• Standard deviation 1.295


Volume flow rate (cc/10 min)

• Mean 56.170

• Standard deviation 1.575

Discussion (factors effecting reproducibility of test results).

There are several reasons as to why the results in the test for the PP MFI can vary.

1. Initial mass used- The initial mass of PP granules put into the machine can vary during
testing. When that happens the final result can change since the machine will take more
time to melt more mass and hence the melt might not be at its optimum temperature

2. Pre-heated Temperature- The temperature the machine is held at before the granules were
put into it can slightly vary. This can cause a change in results as then the machine will
take a different time to reach its optimum temperature.

3. Specific Temperature- Although at the place from where it’s being measured the
temperature has reached its specific temperature, the temperature of the actual melt can
be slightly different.

4. Force applied through mass- The mass used to push the melt down can change and this
can have an effect on the MFI.

5. Human errors when measuring mass etc

Conclusion

The MFI of Poly Propylene obtained from the tests can slightly vary due to the various reasons
stated above and also many more. But from the statistics it can be seen that the Standard
Deviation of the test results is only 1.295 from the mean value obtained. Therefore we can
conclude that the mass flow rate of PP will not vary too much from the obtained value of 46.165