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Jan. 1, 1963 W. E. KASKEL 3,071.

498
METHODS OF AND COMPOSITIONS FOR CLEANING PLASTICS EXTRUDERS
Filed Nov. 9, 1960

INVENTOR,
W A. AASAEL
BY

77OAwa
United States Patent Office 3,071,498
Patented Jan. 1, 1963
2
3,07498 a commercial purging compound, which often contained
METHODs of AN56MPOSITIONS FOR abrasive fillers, through the plastics extruders.
CEANING PLASTICS EXTRUDERS However, these cleaning methods are not entirely
Walter E. Kaskel, Baltimore, Md., assignor to Western satisfactory. Some are extremely time-consuming and
Electric Company, Incorporated, New York, N.Y., a relatively expensive. For example, removal of a stock
corporation of New York screw and brushing thereof and the internal plastics-work
Filed Nov. 9, 1960, Ser. No. 68,274 ing surfaces of a standard plastics extruder are neces
25 Claims. (Cl. 134-7) sarily time-consuming in order to produce a desired
degree of cleaning, particularly in cases where it is neces
This invention relates to methods of and compositions 0. sary to remove stubborn deposits of organoplastics, such
for cleaning plastics extruders, and more particularly to as polyethylene. Removal of the undesirable deposits
methods of and compositions for removing undesirable by means of suitable solvents may present problems of
residues and deposits of organoplastics from interior plas time, amounts of solvent material and adverse physio
tic-working surfaces of plastics extruders. logical effects of solvents on the operating personnel, for
In the manufacture of insulated, electrical conductors, 5 example in cases of removal of deposits of polyethylene
a bare conductor is advanced continuously through a by hot or even boiling xylene or the like. Cleaning of
plastics extruder which forms a coating of an organo plastics extruders by displacement of the undesirable de
plastic insulation thereon. This insulation, for example, posits and residues of an organoplastic compound by
may be composed of solid or cellular organic thermo means of an organoplastic compound of the type desired
plastic compound, such as polyvinyl chloride, polyeth 20 to be removed or of a different type to be used next, or
ylene or the like. The organic thermoplastic compound, by means of commercial purging compounds, may present.
which in many cases is charged into the plastics extruder problems of time and amounts of material before the or
in the form of granules, is worked and advanced by a ganoplastic compound desired to be removed is com
rotatable stock screw having one or more helical threads, pletely removed from the plastics extruders. These prob
and is discharged through a die which forms the organo 25 lems may be especially acute in cases where frequent
plastic compound into a concentric tubular covering on changes from one color or formula to another is neces
the conductor. Sary.
From time to time, for example at the end of a pro An object of this invention is to provide new and im
duction run, it is necessary to shut down the plastics ex proved methods of and compositions for cleaning plastics
truders. Before starting up the plastics extruders again, 30 extruders.
it may be necessary to clean the interior plastics-working Another object of the invention is to provide new and
surfaces thereof. Organoplastic compounds tend to leave improved methods of and compositions for removing
deposits in the plastics extruders, which may occur, for undesirable residues and deposits of organoplastics from
example, because of local overheating and decomposition interior plastics-working surfaces of plastics extruders.
of the organoplastic composition being extruded, causing 35 A composition
such deposits to adhere to the interior, plastics-working surfaces of plasticsforextruders,cleaning interior plastics-working
which illustrates certain
walls and the stock screws of the plastics extruders. Such features of the invention may include a granulated or
deposits may adhere temporarily to the walls and the ganoplastic material, and silicone oil in the form of a
stock screws of the plastics extruders, from which they film coating the granules of the organoplastic material.
may be subsequently dislodged, resulting in product de 40 The organoplastic material is physically incompatible with
fects. In the course of time these deposits may also the silicone oil and has thermoplastic properties.
accumulate to an undesirable extent. Such accumulated
deposits may constrict passages between the walls of the of Aplasticsmethod of cleaning interior plastics-working surfaces
extruders, which illustrates certain features
plastics extruder and the stock screw, which, in turn, will 45 of the invention, may include the steps of applying a film
result in increases in pressures within the plastics ex of silicone oil to a granulated organic thermoplastics
truders and longer exposure of the organoplastic material material physically incompatible with silicone oil, and
to heat and pressure. The increased pressures that de simultaneously rotating the stock screw of a plastics ex
velop within the plastics extruders and longer exposure truder to be cleaned and feeding the silicone oil-coated
of the organoplastic compound to the heat can cause granulated material into the interior of the plastics ex
additional degradation, oxidation and charring of the 50 truder until the interior plastics-working surfaces thereof
organoplastic compound. are cleaned of undesirable residues and deposits of or
Another instance in which it is necessary to clean
the plastics extruders occurs when changing the color ganoplastic A complete
materials extruded previously therethrough.
understanding of the invention may be had
or type of the organoplastic compound being extruded. 55 from the following detailed description of illustrative
It is desirable to remove all traces of the previously used
organoplastic compound from the interior of the plastics read in conjunction with theembodying
methods and compositions the invention, when
appended drawings, in which:
extruders to prevent discoloration of the subsequent ex FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a screw-type plastics
trudate. extruder being cleaned, with parts thereof broken away
Heretofore, the undesirable deposits and residues were for clarity, and
removed by various methods, such as by disassembling 60 FIG. 2 is a view of a portion of a strip of a cleaning
of the piastics extruders to remove the stock screws and composition, shown in FIG. 1 after emerging from the
brushing the stock screws and the interior plastics-working plastics extruder.
surfaces of such disassembled plastics extruders, by clean Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a conventional
ing of the plastics extruders in assembled and disassem 65 plastics extruder, designated generally by the numeral
bled form by using hot or cold solvents, and by displace 11, which includes a stock screw 12. The latter is
ment or flushing out of one organoplastic compound mounted rotatably within a cylindrical bore 13 formed
from the plastics extruders by another. The displace within an extruder barrel 14. Power-driven means 16
ment and flushing out methods included passing an or isan provided for rotating the stock screw 12 to advance
ganoplastic compound through the plastics extruders, the 70 19 organic thermoplastic compound from a feed hopper
organoplastic compound being of the type desirable to tion,toextrusionthe delivery end of the bore 13. In normal opera
be removed or of the type to be extruded next; or passing straining screentools, including a core tube, a die, and a
(not shown), are mounted in a conven
8,071,498
3. 4.
tional head 26, illustrated in phantom lines in FIG. 1, proved methods embodying the present invention. Gen
erally, such cleaning compositions comprise a granulated
which is removably secured to the discharge end of organic thermoplastic material, the granules of which
the barrel 14.
The stock screw 12, which is shown merely as an are coated with a relatively thin film of silicone oil.
illustration of one of the many various forms and types More specifically, such compositions comprise a granu
of stock screws used in the plastics extruders, is provided lated organic thermoplastic material, the granules of
with a helical thread 27, which forms a helical channel which are coated with a film of silicone oil, the viscosity
28 characterized by a constant pitch and a gradually of which is of the order of from about 20 centistokes to
decreasing depth from the feed hopper zone to the dis about 100,000 centistokes at 25 C., preferably of the
charge end of the barrel 14. This type of stock screw order of from about 40 centistokes to about 10,000 centi
structure provides a vigorous working and plasticizing stokes at 25 C., in proportions of from about 0.2 per
action of increasing intensity as the organic thermoplastic cent to about 2 percent by weight of the thermoplastic ma
compound is advanced thereby. terial.
In those types of plastics extruders requiring auxiliary The term "granulated organic thermoplastic material,'
heating or cooling thereof to control the temperature of 5 as employed herein, is meant to include an organic ther
the advancing thermoplastic insulating compound, the moplastic material of either virgin or compounded type,
stock screw 12 may be provided with a longitudinally in the form of relatively coarse powders, flakes, granules
extending internal passage (not shown) into which ex and pellets of various sizes and shapes, preferably pellets
tends a pipe (not shown) for introducing a heat-exchange in the form of nominal /8 inch cubes, commonly used
medium, for example water under pressure. Such me 20 throughout the plastics industry for making organoplas
dium may be hot or cold, as required, to control the tic articles by extrusion. This term also means organo
temperature of the stock screw 12 and thus the tempera plastic materials having thermoplastic properties differ
ture of the organic themoplastic compound. Cold water entiated from inorganic plastic materials and metals.
is commonly required in the normal operation of some The term "silicone oil,' as is used throughout the
plastics extruders to dissipate excess heat generated in 25 specification and claims, defines silicone fluids of dimeth
ternally by the extrusion operation. In a similar man ylsiloxane and methylphenylsiloxane types. The dimeth
ner, the barrel 14 may be provided with a passage, such ylsiloxane-type silicone fluids, also called dimethyl sili
as the passage 31, through which a liquid temperature cone fluids, are linear polymers of alternating silicone
control medium may be circulated to additionally control and oxygen atoms, i.e. of siloxane groups, each silicone
the temperature of the organic thermoplastic compound 30 aton having two methyl groups attached to it. The ends
as desired. In cases of autogenous extrusion, such heat of each chain of a methyl silicone fluid are blocked by
ing and cooling controls are not required during the nor silicone atoms, each having three methyl groups attached
mal operation. thereto to stabilize the viscosity of the dimethyl silicone
When an organoplastic material, such as polyethylene fluid against polymerization upon standing.
or vinyl compounds, for example, polyvinyl chloride, is 35 The dimethyl silicone fluid may be represented by the
extruded by means of a plastics extruder of the type de general formula:
scribed, irregular deposits of the organoplastic material
may collect on the walls of the bore 13 or on the stock GH, SH, GH,
screw 12. Such deposits may occur because of local 40
overheating and decomposition of the compound being
CH-i-o-
CH3
5-0 -Si-CH,
CH3 X CH3
extruded. These deposits tend to disintegrate, oxidize wherein X is a whole number which varies over a very
and char, and may build up on the interior surfaces and wide range and denotes the number of dimethylsiloxane
subsequently become dislodged. Eventually the strain groups per mole of dimethyl silicone fluid, and, there
ing screen may become clogged, and the channel of the fore, the length of the polymer chain. The length of the
stock screw may become obstructed to such an extent polymer chain, in turn, determines the viscosity of the
that impairment of the efficiency of the plastics extruder oil: the greater the length of the polymer chain, the
results. The build-up of such deposits then leads to greater the viscosity of the dimethyl silicone fluid. Some
build-up of excess pressures within the plastics extruder, of the low-molecular weight and low-viscosity dimethyl
longer exposure of the organic thermoplastic compound silicone fluids may also be of the branched type, having
to heat and working, decrease in output, and, in cases 50 additional end-blocking trimethyl groups.
where relatively coarse straining screens are used, the The methylphenylsiloxane-type silicone fluids, also
inclusion of dislodged particles of the deposits in the fin called methylphenyl silicone fluids, are linear siloxane
ished insulation. It is possible that the excessive pres polymers resembling the dimethyl silicone fluids. How
sures may damage the plastics extruder, and that such ever, Some of the silicon atoms of the alternating silicone
dislodged particles may cause objectionable imperfec 55 and oxygen atom groups, i.e. of the siloxane groups, may
tions in the extruded insulation. It then becomes neces have one or both of the methyl groups attached thereto
sary to clean the interior plastics-working surfaces of Substituted by phenyl groups.
the plastics extruders to remove these deposits therefrom Dimethyl silicone fluids and the methylphenyl silicone
with as little expenditure of time and material as pos fluids are obtainable from various sources, such as Dow
sible. Similarly, at the end of a normal operating run, 60 Corning Corporation, Midland, Michigan; Silicone Prod
or when it is necessary to change the color or the type ucts Dept. of General Electric Company, Waterford, New
of insulating organic thermoplastic compound being ex York, and Silicones Division of Union Carbide and Car
truded, it is desirable to remove the residues of such a bon Corporation, under various trade designations in a
compound with as little expenditure of time and material very wide range of viscosities ranging from 0.65 centistoke
as possible. 65 to several millions of centistokes. For example, suitable
To accomplish the desired cleaning, the extrusion of dimethyl silicone fluids of various viscosities are obtain
the insulating compound by the plastics extruder 11 able from the Dow Corning Corporation, under the trade
should be discontinued, preferably the head 26 removed, designation "200 Fluids,” and from the Silicone Products
and the interior plastics-working surfaces of the plastics Department of General Electric Company, under the trade
extruder cleaned with new and improved cleaning com 70 designation "SF-96.
positions embodying the invention until these interior Silicone oils are heat stable both chemically and physi
plastics-working Surfaces are cleaned of these undesirable cally, even at relatively high temperatures, such as 400°
residues and deposits. In accordance with the present F.; have relatively high flash point, e.g. dimethyl silicone
invention, cleaning compositions are provided which are oils, having viscosities of 100 centistokes and more, have
employed to clean plastics extruders by new and im 75 a flash point of the order of 600° F. in an open cup;
5
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have low volatility, providing durability with relatively Example III
low smoke and evaporation loss; are chemically inert;
practically noncorrosive to the metals, and physically in A satisfactory cleaning composition is obtained by mix
compatible with most of the organoplastic compounds and ing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl chlo
metais. Also, the silicone oils are practically inert phys ride with 0.20 lb. of SF-96 silicone oil having a viscosity.
iologically, either by skin contact or internally. These of 40 centistokes at 25 C. The mixing is continued
properties make silicone oils especially valuable in ap until the pellets are coated with a film of silicone oil,
amounting on the average to 2 percent of silicone oil by
plications where it is desirable to clean plastics extruders weight
at relatively high temperatures, such as 300 F-400 F. of the pellets.
In cases where it is desirable to apply a very thin film 10 Example IV
of silicone oil or where it is inconvenient to measure rela A satisfactory cleaning composition is prepared by
tively small quantities of silicone oil, silicone emulsions mixing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl
are used of an oil-in-water type having from about 35 chloride with 0.06 lb. of an LE-45 silicone oil emulsion.
percent to about 50 percent of silicone oil by weight of The mixing is continued until the silicone oil emulsion is
emulsion in a wide range of viscosities of silicone oil. dispersed throughout the pellets in the form of a film of.
The silicone emulsions, besides silicone oil and water, silicone oil emulsion amounting on the average to 0.2 per
contain also small amounts of emulsifying agent and a cent of silicone oil by weight of the pellets.
rust inhibitor.
Silicone oil-in-water emulsions of silicone oils having Example V
viscosities of 350, 1000 and 10,000 centistokes at 25 C. 20 . A satisfactory cleaning composition is prepared by
are available as LE-45, LE-450, and LE-46, respectively, mixing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl
from Silicones Division of Union Carbide and Carbon
Corporation, in concentration of 35 percent of silicone chloride with 0.15 lb. of an LE-45 silicone oil emulsion.
oil by weight of emulsion. Similarly, silicone oil-in The mixing is continued until the silicone oil emulsion is
water emulsions of silicone oils having viscosity of 200 25 of dispersed throughout the pellets in the form of a film
to 350 centistokes at 100 F. are available, in concentra silicone oil emulsion amounting on the average to 0.5.
tions of from 36 percent to 38 percent of silicone oil by percent of silicone oil by weight of the pellets.
weight of emulsion, as SM-61 silicone oil emulsions from . . Example VI
Silicone Products Department of the General Electric A satisfactory cleaning composition is prepared by mix
Company. Where it is necessary to apply silicone oil 30
in very thin films, these emulsions may be further readily ing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl chlo
diluted by water, for example, to form emulsions having ride with 0.57 lb. of an LE-45 silicone oil emulsion. The
as little as one percent and even less of silicone oil by mixing is continued until the silicone oil emulsion is
weight thereof. dispersed throughout the pellets in the form of a film of
Suitable cleaning compositions may be prepared by 35 percentsilicone oil emulsion amounting on the average to 2
applying a thin film of liquid or greasy material to a of silicone oil by weight of the pellets.
granulated organoplastic material while maintaining the In all of Examples I to VI, inclusive, the pellets are
granulated form of the organoplastic material relatively polyvinyl chloride compounds, designated Geon 8851 by
B. F. Goodrich Chemical Company, Cleveland, Ohio, and
unchanged. One method is simply to combine a desired
amount of granulated organoplastic material with silicone 40 used normally for jacketing telephone cordage. These
polyvinyl chloride compounds are supplied in a variety
oil to mix the combined ingredients vigorously until the of colors in the form of pellets, 98 percent of which pass
granulated organoplastic material is coated with a sub through a 548 inch sieve, preferably in the form of cubi
stantially uniform film of silicone oil. More specifically, cally shaped pellets. /8 inch in size, and have a stock
a desired amount of granulated organoplastic material is extrusion temperature of approximately from 325 F. to
placed in a tumbling barrel of suitable size and, while the 45 390. F. at the normal working condition of screw-type
organoplastic material is tumbled, silicone oil, as such, plastics extruders. The material and properties of these
or as a silicone oil-in-water emulsion, is added to the polyvinyl chloride pellets are substantially identical with
granulated organoplastic material in any suitable way, those of pellets of a polyvinyl chloride insulating com
such as by sprinkling or spraying, and the ingredients are pound, designated Geon 8818 by B. F. Goodrich Chemi
tumbled until the granulated organoplastic material is 50 cal Company. In each of Examples I to WI, inclusive,
coated with a relatively uniform film of silicone oil. The the silicone oil, per se or as a silicone oil-in-water emul
amounts of silicone oil actually added to the granulated Sion, has been added to the pelletized polyvinyl chloride
organoplastic material, during the preparation of the clean in slight excess to provide for small amounts of silicone
ing compositions, may vary slightly, depending on the oil lost as a film spread upon the walls of a mixing ap
methods and apparatus used for preparation thereof. 55 paratus used to prepare the cleaning compositions.
The following examples of cleaning compositions are
given as illustrative, but not limitative, embodiments of thePreparatory to cleaning the plastics extruders, such as
plastics extruder 11, the head 26, including the ex.
the invention:
Example I truding tools, is removed and the cleaning composition is
charged into the feed hopper 19 while the stock screw
A satisfactory cleaning composition is obtained by mix 60 12 is driven rotatably at the normal operating speed of
ing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl chlo an extrusion operation. The stock screw 12 forces the
ride with 0.02 lb. of SF-96 silicone oil having a viscosity cleaning composition through the plastics extruder 11.
of 40 centistokes at 25 C. The mixing is continued un The cleaning composition emerges from the discharge end
til the pellets are coated with a film of silicone oil amount of the barrel 14 of the plastics extruder 11 in the form of
ing on the average to 0.2 percent of silicone oil by weight
of the pellets.
65 a ribbon 32 of softened granules of the organoplastic
material of the cleaning composition. w
Example II . The compositions mentioned in the Examples I to VI,
A satisfactory cleaning composition is obtained by mix inclusive, were used to clean plastic extruders, of, the
ing approximately 10.00 lbs. of pelletized polyvinyl chlo type of the plastics extruder 11, which were previously
70 used to extrude polyvinyl chloride insulation, such as
ride with 0.05 lb. of SF-96 silicone oil having a viscosity Geon 8818, on a conductor. In each case, prior to clean
of 40 centistokes at 25° C. The mixing is continued ing the plastics extruder 11, and after the head 26 was
until the pellets are coated with a film of silicone oil removed, the insulating polyvinyl chloride composition
amounting on the average to 0.5 percent of silicone oil by being extruded was removed as well as possible from the
weight of the pellets. 75 plastics extruder, being cleaned, by simply continuing to
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rotate the stock screw 12. In each case between about plastic material so as to prevent the granules from stick
one pound and about three pounds of cleaning composi ing to the surfaces of the bore 13 and the stock screw 12
tion were then charged into the feed hopper 19 while. and to cause the granules to slip relative to each other
continuing to rotate the stock screw 12 at the normal and to these surfaces, thereby reducing the amount of
working speed thereof and maintaining the temperature working of the granules of the cleaning composition in
of the stock screw 12 and the barrel 14 in the range from the plastics extruders. As a result, a substantial portion
about 300 F. to about 400 F., usually between about of the granules of the cleaning composition, even though
325 F. and 350 F., i.e. at working conditions approach somewhat softened and deformed, retain their plastic
ing the normal working conditions of the plastics extruder memory, i.e. substantially retain their granulated form
11 for the particular type of polyvinyl chloride insulating O and original plastic properties, so that the cleaning com
compound being normally extruded. position produces a "brushing" or "scouring" effect on
The residues of the insulating polyvinyl chloride com the surfaces of the walls of the bore 13 and the stock
positions were purged by the cleaning composition from screw 12. Simultaneously, the silicone oil, partially be
the plastics extruder 11 within about 10 to 30 seconds, cause of its relatively low surface tension and partially
and the last portions of the cleaning composition emerged 5 because of the vigorous working by the stock screw 12,
from the delivery end of the barrel 14 within about 1. spreads from the granules of the advancing cleaning com
to 3 minutes after the charging of the cleaning composi position onto the residues of the insulating plastic ma
tion into the feed hopper 19. The plastics extruder 11 terial and onto the surfaces of the plastics extruder so as
was then blown out with compressed air and dismantled to prevent sticking of the insulating organoplastic material
by removing the stock screw 12. In most cases no un 20 to these Surfaces and to cause a releasing action thereon.
desirable deposits were found on the surfaces of the stock Similarly, silicone oil also spreads around and between
screw 12 and the walls of the bore 13, and these surfaces the stubborn deposits of the insulating organoplastic ma
were bright and shiny. terial and the interior surfaces of the plastics extruder to
However, it has been observed that when the cleaning initiate release of these deposits therefrom.
compositions of the Examples II and V, i.e. those con The methods and compositions embodying the present
taining the silicone oils in relatively low proportions, invention are not limited to cleaning plastics extruders
were used for cleaning the plastics extruder 11, the clean which have been used to extrude polyvinyl chloride com
ing compositions emerged from the discharge end of the positions as insulation on conductors or in any other
barrel 14 in the form of a shapeless, elongated, plastic form, but may be used to clean plastics extruders used
mass rather than in the form of a ribbon and slight de 30 to extrude other organic thermoplastic compositions,
posits of the softened cleaning compositions were left which include cellulose plastic compounds, such as cellu
on the stock screw 12 near the threads thereof. These lose acetate, cellulose propionate, cellulose acetate-butyr
deposits were easily removed by simply going over the ate and ethyl cellulose; polyethylene; polypropylene; poly
stock screw 12 with a gloved hand, which left the surface. styrene; vinyl polymers, such as polyvinyl acetate, poly
of the screw bright and shiny. These deposits tended to vinyl alcohol, polyvinyl butyrate, polyvinyl chloride,
be heavier when the plastics extruder 11 was cleansed polyvinyl chloride-acetate and polyvinylidene chloride,
with the cleaning compositions of Examples II and V and other organoplastic materials, which are physically
while the temperatures of the plastics extruder were at or incompatible with the silicone oil.
above the stock extrusion temperature of the polyvinyl For example, the composition of Example V has also
chloride ingredient of the cleaning composition. 40 been used to clean successfully a plastics extruder which
Small residues of silicone oil on the walls of the bore had been used for extruding polyethylene as insulation
13 of the plastics extruder 11 were removed easily by on the conductors. The cleaning composition of Example
successive forcing of the insulating polyvinyl chloride V was used to clean the last-mentioned plastics extruder
composition therethrough during the preparation thereof of the residues and deposits of polyethylene while the
for the next insulating operation, for example, during the 43 temperature of the plastics extruder remained in a range
normal start-up period in which the plastics extruder is of from about 350 F. to about 400 F. As in the case
brought up to proper working temperature. It has been of cleaning plastics extruders used for extruding insulat
observed that when silicone oil was used in amounts ex ing polyvinyl chloride compositions, the surfaces of the
ceeding the preferred range, the removal of silicone oil walls of the bore and the stock screw of such cleaned
from the plastics extruder was more difficult, but not st) plastics extruder were clean and shiny.
impossible. In cases where it is desirable to speed up the Similarly, the present invention is not limited to clean
removal of traces of the silicone oil from the plastics ing compositions comprising pelletized polyvinyl chlo
extruders, a suitable absorbent material may be forced ride. Other granulated organic thermoplastic materials,
through the cleaned plastics extruder prior to use of an which include cellulose plastic compounds, such as cellu
insulating organoplastic composition, or the walls of the 55 lose acetate, cellulose propionate, cellulose acetate-butyr
bore 13 and the surface of the stock screw 12 may be ate and ethyl cellulose; polyethylene; polypropylene; poly
simply wiped off with a rag. styrene; vinyl polymers, such as polyvinyl acetate, poly
Without limiting the invention to any theory and mere vinyl alcohol, polyvinyl butyrate, polyvinyl chloride, poly
ly for the purpose of facilitating the comprehension of vinyl chloride-acetate and polyvinylidene chloride, and
the above-identified method and composition, the follow other plastic materials, which are physically incompatible
ing mechanism is proposed whereby adherent plastic 60 with the silicone oil, may be used as well to form clean
material is removed from the plastics extruders by con ing compositions within the scope of this invention.
tact with the cleaning composition. By physical inspec These granulated thermoplastic materials may be used
tion it appears that a film of silicone oil on the surface singly or in any suitable mixtures thereof in any desirable
of the granulated organic thermoplastic material causes 65 combinations, when necessary, in accordance with ap
the granules of the latter to pass through the plastics ex paratus and conditions to be used and organic thermo
truders without being worked as severely as when the plastic materials to be removed. For example, pellets of
insulating organoplastic composition is worked under polystyrene may be used to prepare a cleaning composi
normal operating conditions of the plastics extruders, tion for removal of polyvinyl chloride residues from a
even if the temperature of the plastics extruder is main O plastics extruder, the temperature of which for any rea
tained at substantially the normal working temperature son remains during the cleaning operation near the
thereof or slightly above the recommended stock extru higher limits of the temperature range between 300° F.
sion temperature of the granulated organic thermoplastic and 400 F. Similarly, mixtures of organic thermoplastic
material of the cleaning composition. The silicone oil materials having low-softening and high-softening points,
envelops the granules of the granulated organic thermo 75 as compared to the softening point of the organoplastic
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material being removed from a plastics extruder, may be surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises a granu
used as an ingredient of the cleaning compositions. lated organoplastic material, and silicone oil in the form
The specific examples of the methods of using the of a film
cleaning compositions of Examples I to VI, inclusive, rial, said coating the granules of the organoplastic mate
organoplastic material being physically incom
refer to the use of these cleaning compositions for clean patible with said silicone oil and having thermoplastic
ing the apparatus of the type of the plastics extruder 11 properties.
at temperatures slightly below, or even above, the stock 2. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
extrusion temperature of the polyvinyl chloride ingredient
of these cleaning compositions. However, the preferred working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises
operating temperature range for the last-mentioned clean () the form of aorganoplastic
a granulated material, and silicone oil in
film coating the granules of the organo
ing compositions is between about 200 F. and 400 F., plastic material, said organoplastic material being selected
the temperature in each particular case being so selected from the group consisting of polyvinyl chloride and poly
that a substantial portion of the granulated organic ther ethylene. -
moplastic material of such cleaning compositions is al 3. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
lowed to pass through the plastics extruders only slightly 5 working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises
affected thermally. In such instances, the granulated a granulated organoplastic material, and silicone oil in
organoplastic material will present a great number of the form of a film coating the granules of the organo
Scouring edges and corners while being relatively stiff, plastic material, said organoplastic material being physi
as compared to thermally deformed granules, and, there cally incompatible with said silicone oil and having
fore, will produce best cleaning action on the interior 20 thermoplastic properties, said silicone oil being selected
surfaces of the plastics extruders. The cleaning composi from the group consisting of dimethyl silicone fluids and
tions may also be possibly employed successfully at methylphenyl silicone fluids.
temperatures other than those within the preferred op 4. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
erating range, depending on the operating properties of working surfaces of plastics, extruders, which comprises
the apparatus to be cleaned and the thermal properties 25 a granulated organoplastic material, and silicine oil in
of the granulated organic thermoplastic material ingre the form of a film coating the granules of the organo
dient of such cleaning compositions. Similarly, although plastic material, said organoplastic material b2ing selected
it is recommended to remove the head 26, including the from the group consisting of polyvinyl chloride and poly
extruding tools, in Some instances it may be necessary ethylene and said silicone oil being selected from the
to remove the extruding tools only, leaving the head 26 30 group consisting of dimethyl silicone fluids and methyl
attached to the extruding apparatus. phenyl silicone fluids.
The cleaning compositions and methods might be used 5. A cleaning composition as claimed in claim 4, in
unmodified or with modifications within the spirit and which said silicone oil is a dimethyl silicone fluid.
scope of the invention for removing undesirable residues 6. A cleaning composition as claimed in claim 4, in
and deposits of organoplastic materials from metal sur 35 which said silicone oil is a methylphenyl silicone fluid.
faces of devices other than plastics extruders. For ex 7. A cleaning composition as claimed in claim 4, in
ample, some injection molding devices, calendering de which said granulated organoplastic material is polyvinyl
vices, sheet-forming devices and other equipment used chloride.
for forming articles from organoplastic compositions 8. A cleaning composition as claimed in claim 4, in
which are Substantially physically incompatible with sili 40 which said granulated organoplastic material is poly
cone oil might be cleaned by the cleaning compositions ethylene.
embodying the invention. 9. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
In cases of plastics extruders of the screw type, it is working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises
recommended to confine the amounts of silicone oil in granulated organoplastic material, and silicone oil in the
the cleaning composition, preferably, to the range of 45 form of a film coating the granules of the organoplastic
from about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of silicone material in amounts from about 0.2 percent to about 2
oil by weight of the granulated thermoplastic material of percent by weight of said organoplastic material, said
the cleaning composition. It has been observed that the organoplastic material being physical incompatible with
use of the cleaning compositions of the type of Ex said silicone oil and having thermoplastic properties,
amples III and VI, but containing silicone oil in excess 50 said silicone oil having a viscosity of the order of from
of 2 percent, for cleaning the screw-type plastics ex about 20 centistokes to about 100,000 centistokes at
truders, resulted in such slippage of the granulated orga 25° C.
noplastic material relative to the plastics-working sur 10. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
faces of the plastics extruders that the efficiency of the working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises
cleaning composition was somewhat reduced. However, 55 granulated organoplastic material, and silicone oil in the
the percentage ranges of the silicone oil ingredient of form of a film of a silicone oil-in-water emulsion coating
the cleaning compositions to be used with different types
of the granulated organoplastic material, working condi fromgranules
the
about
of the organoplastic material in amounts
0.2 to about 2 percent of silicone oil by
tions and type of plastics-working devices are not given weight of said organoplastic material, said organoplastic
as limitative, but only as illustrative. In some instances 60 material being physically incompatible with said silicone
it may be possible to go beyond the preferred proportions oil and having thermoplastic properties.
of the silicone oil in the cleaning composition by using 11. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
different types of granulated form or the formula of the working surfaces of plastics extrudes, which comprises
granulated organic thermoplastic material, or by cleaning granulated polyvinyl chloride in the form of substantially
a different type of apparatus. Also, silicone oils of higher 65 cube-shaped granules of the order of about /8 inch in
viscosities than indicated may be used in some instances size, and silicone oil in the form of a film coating the
in the form of greases, if necessary. granues of polyvinyl chloride in amounts from about 0.2
It is to be understood that the above-described arrange percent to about 2 percent of silicone oil by weight of
ments are simply illustrative of the application of the the polyvinyl chloride granules.
principles of the invention. Other arrangements may be 70 12. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics
devised by those skilled in the art, which will embody working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises
the principles of the invention and fall within the spirit granulated polyvinyl chloride in the form of substan
and scope thereof. tially cube-shaped granules of the order of about 1/8 inch
What is claimed is: in size, and silicone oil in the form of a film coating the
1. A composition for cleaning interior plastics-working 75 granules of polyvinyl chloride in amounts of about 0.5
3,071,498
11 12
percent of silicone oil by weight of the polyvinyl chloride erties, and continuing the feeding and rotating step until
granules, said silicone cil having a viscosity of the order said interior plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of un
of 40 centistokes at 25 C. desirable residues and deposits of organoplastic materials
13. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics previously extruded therethrough.
working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises 19. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work
granulated polyvinyl chloride in the form of substantially ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com
cube-shaped granules of the order of about /8 inch in prises mixing silicone oil and a granulated organic thermo
size, and silicone oil in the form of a film of a silicone plastic material physically incompatible with said sili
oil-in-water emulsion coating the granules of the poly cone oil, so that the granules of said granulated material
vinyl chloride, in amounts from about 0.2 percent to about 0. are coated with a film of said silicone oil in amounts
2 percent of silicone oil by weight of the polyvinyl chlo from about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of silicone oil
ride granules, said silicone oil emulsion containing from by weight of said granulated material, simultaneously ro
about 35 percent to about 50 percent of solicone oil by tating the stock screw of said plastics extruder and feed
weight of said emulsion. ing the silicone oil-coated granulated material into the
14. A composition for cleaning the interior plastics interior of said plastics extruder, the rotating stock screw
working surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises a forcing the silicone oil-coated granulated material through
granulated organoplastic material, and silicone oil in the said plastics extruder, maintaining the temperature of said
form of a film coating the granules of the plastic material, plastics extruder such that a substantial portion of said
said organoplastic material being selected from the group silicone oil-coated granules tend to retain their initial
consisting of cellulose acetate, cellulose propionate, cellu 20 plastic memory properties, and continuing the feeding
lose acetate-butyrate, ethyl cellulose, polyethylene, poly and rotating step until said interior plastics-working Sur
propylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl alco faces are cleaned of undesirable residues and deposits of
hol, polyvinyl butyrate, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl chlo organoplastic materials previously extruded therethrough.
ride-acetate, and polyvinylidene chloride. 20. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work
15. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work 25 ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com
ing Surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises apply prises mixing silicone oil in the form of a silicone oil
ing a film of silicone oil to a granulated organic thermo in-water emulsion and a granulated organic thermoplastic
plastic material physically incompatible with said sili material physically incompatible with said silicone oil,
cone oil, and simultaneously rotating the stock screw of so that the granules of said granulated material are coated
a plastics extruder to be cleaned and feeding the silicone 30 with a film of said silicone oil emulsion in amounts from
oil-coated granulated material into the interior of the about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of silicone oil by
plastics extruder until the interior plastics-working Sur weight of said granulated material, simultaneously rotat
faces thereof are cleaned of undesirable residues and de ing the stock screw of said plastics extruder and feeding
posits of organoplastic materials extruded previously the silicone oil emulsion-coated granulated material into
therethrough. 35 the interior of said plastics extruder, the rotating stock
16. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work screw forcing the silicone oil emulsion-coated granulated
ing surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises ap material through said plastics extruder, maintaining the
plying a film of silicone oil to a granulated organic thermo temperature of said plastics extruder such that a substan
plastic material physically incompatible with said silicone tial portion of said silicone oil emulsion-coated granules
oil, simultaneously rotating the stock screw of a plastics 40 tend to retain their initial plastic memory properties, and
extruder to be cleaned and feeding the silicone oil-coated continuing the feeding and rotating step until said interior
granulated material into the interior of said plastics ex plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of undesirable resi
truder, the rotating stock screw forcing the silicone oil dues and deposits of organoplastic materials previously
coated granulated material through said plastics extruder, extruded therethrough.
and continuing the feeding and rotating step until said 21. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work
interior plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of undesir ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder having a
able residues and deposits of organoplastic materials pre rotatable stock screw and a removable head, which com
viously extruded therethrough. prises mixing silicone oil and a granulated organic thermo
17. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work plastic material physically incompatible with said silicone
ing surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises apply 50 oil, so that the granules of said granulated material are
ing a film of silicone oil to a granulated material physi coated with a film of said silicone oil in amounts from
cally incompatible with said silicone oil, said granulated about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of silicone oil by
material being selected from the group consisting of poly weight of said granulated material, removing a head from
vinyl chloride and polyethylene, simultaneously rotating a plastics extruder to be cleaned immediately after said
the stock screw of a plastics extruder to be cleaned and 55 plastics extruder is shut down, simultaneously rotating
feeding the silicone oil-coated granulated material into the stock screw of said plastics extruder and feeding the
the interior of said plastics extruder, the rotating stock silicone oil-coated granulated material into the interior
screw forcing the silicone oil-coated granulated material of said plastics extruder, the rotating stock screw forcing
through said plastics extruder, and continuing the feed the silicone oil-coated granulated material through said
ing and rotating step until said interior plastics-working 60 plastics extruder, maintaining the temperature of said
surfaces are cleaned of undesirable residues and deposits plastics extruder between about 200 F. and about 400
of organoplastic materials previously extruded there F. so that a substantial portion of said silicone oil-coated
through. granules tend to retain their initial plastic memory proper
18. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work ties, and continuing the feeding and rotating step until said
ing surfaces of plastics extruders, which comprises apply interior plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of undesir
ing a film of silicone oil to a granulated organic thermo able residues and deposits of organoplastic materials pre
plastic material physically incompatible with said silicone viously extruded therethrough.
oil, simultaneously rotating the stock screw of said plas 22. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work
tics extruder and feeding the silicone oil-coated granu ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com
lated material into the interior of said plastics extruder, 70 prises mixing polyvinyl chloride in the form of cube
the rotating stock screw forcing the silicone oil-coated shaped granules of about /8 inch in size and silicone oil
granulated material through said plastics extruder, main having a viscosity of the order of from about 20 centi
taining the temperature of said plastics extruder such stokes to about 100,000 centistokes at 25 C., so that the
that a substantial portion of said silicone oil-coated gran granules are coated with a film of said silicone oil in
ules tend to retain their initial plastic memory prop 75 amounts from about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of
3,071,498
13 4.
silicone oil by weight of said granules, simultaneously ules into the interior of said plastics extruder, the rotating
rotating the stock screw of said plastics extruder and feed stock screw forcing said emulsion-coated granules through
ing the Silicone oil-coated granules into the interior of said plastics extruder, maintaining the temperature of said
Said plastics extruder, the rotating stock screw forcing the plastics extruder such that a substantial portion of said
silicone oil-coated granules through said plastics extruder,
maintaining the temperature of said plastics extruder such emulsion-coated granules tend to retain their initial piastic
memory properties, and continuing the feeding and rotat
that a substantial portion of said silicone oil-coated gran
ules tend to retain their initial plastic memory proper ing step until said interior plastics-working surfaces are
cleaned of undesirable residues and deposits of organo
ties, and continuing the feeding and rotating step until plastic materials previously extruded therethrough.
said interior plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of un i0 25. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work
desirable residues and deposits of organoplastic materials ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com
previously extruded therethrough. prises mixing polyvinyl chloride in the form of cube
23. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work shaped granules of about /8 inch in size and silicone oil
ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com in-water emulsion containing from about 35 percent to 50
prises mixing polyvinyl chloride in the form of cube percent of silicone oil by weight of said emulsion, so
shaped granules of about /s inch in size and silicone oil 5 that the granules are coated with a film of said emulsion
having a viscosity of the order of about 40 centistokes at in amounts from about 0.2 percent to about 2 percent of
25 C., so that the granules are coated with a film of said silicone oil by weight of said granules, simultaneously
silicone oil amounting to about 0.5 percent of silicone oil rotating the stock screw of said plastics extruder and feed
by weight of said granules, simultaneously rotating the 20 ing the emulsion-coated granules into the interior of said
stock screw of said plastics extruder and feeding the sili plastics extruder, the rotating stock screw forcing the
cone oil-coated granules into the interior of said plastics emulsion-coated granules through said plastics extruder,
extruder, the rotating stock screw forcing the silicone oil maintaining the temperature of said plastics extruder be
coated granules through said plastics extruder, maintain tween about 300 F. and about 400 F. So that a sub
ing the temperature of said plastics extruder between about 25 stantial portion of said emulsion-coated granules tend to
300 F. and 400 F. so that a substantial portion of said retain their initial plastic memory properties, and con
silicone oil-coated granules tend to retain their initial tinuing the feeding and rotating step until said interior
plastic memory properties, and continuing the feeding and plastics-working surfaces are cleaned of undesirable resi
rotating step until said interior plastics-working surfaces dues and deposits of organoplastic material previously
are cleaned of undesirable residues and deposits of organo 30 extruded therethrough.
plastic materials previously extruded therethrough.
24. The method of cleaning the interior plastics-work References Cited in the file of this patent
ing surfaces of a screw-type plastics extruder, which com
prises mixing polyvinyl chloride in the form of cube UNITED STATES PATENTS
shaped granules of about /s inch in size and silicone oil 35 999,491 Ellis ------------------ Aug. 1, 1911
in-water emulsion so that the granules are coated with a 2,346,228 Merrill --------------- Apr. 11, 1944
film of said emulsion in amounts from about 0.2 percent 2,698,265 Klingel --------------- Dec. 28, 1954
to about 2 percent of silicone oil by weight of said gran 2,744,841 Cassis ---------------- May 8, 1956
ules, simultaneously rotating the stock screw of said 2,779,696 Rutherford ------------- Jan. 29, 1957
plastics extruder and feeding said emulsion-coated gran 40