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Further studies of the injection moulding

D. Hill

Mathematics Department, UrGersi& of Western Australia, Nedlands, 6907, Australia

This paper is concerned with the injection moulding process, in which hot, molten plastic is injected into a
thin, cold mould. A simple uiscous jlow model which descn-bes the behauiour during the filling stage is
presented. Of particular interest is the formation of a layer of solid plastic along the walls of the mould. Both
analytical and numerical investigations are car-tied out. 0 1996 by Elsevier Science Inc.

Keywords: injection moulding, non-Newtonian flow, lubrication theory, similarity solution

1. Introduction putational efficiency of the numerical simulations of the

The injection moulding process is one of the most impor- process are desired and will result only from a better
tant operations involved in polymer processing. The mould understanding of the physics and mathematics of the melt
usually consists of two halves which are brought together, flow behaviour and buckling process.
clamped into position, and kept at a constant tempera- In 1986, the Australian Mathematics in Industry Study
ture. Hot molten plastic is then forced under pressure into Group’ was approached by a company which develops
the cooler mould. After the plastic has solidified, the and markets CAD software for the plastics industry. Some
clamps are released, the moulded object is ejected, and of these software packages are based on a finite differ-
the cycle is repeated. In this way, objects ranging in size ence/finite element model of the coupled flow and heat
from toy building blocks to car bonnets are produced. transfer processes which take place as molten plastic is
Historically, those involved in injection moulding have forced under pressure into a cold mould. These models,
relied on a combination of experience and a few rules of however, often require considerable computational effort,
thumb to produce reasonably successful results. However, particularly for complex geometries.
there are two important factors which have combined to The question that the company posed was, what could
make the traditional approach outdated. First, manufac- be said about these processes using only a “bare hands”
turers realise that they can achieve lower production costs approach (that is, without relying on any significant com-
by having shorter cycle times and reduced object weight. puting)? A particular topic of interest was the growth in
Second, there are now attractive markets for large injec- thickness of the solid skin as molten plastic flows through
tion mouldings such as business machine panels, various a cold mould and its effect on melt flow behaviour.
panels for the car manufacture industry, and even com- The Study Group examined the steady-state solid plas-
plete boat hulls and decks. These considerations have led tic skin profile as a function of distance from the gate for
to quality control problems, since the items are prone to a Cartesian steady-state model with thin slab geometry.
cracking. The assumption that the profiles of fluid velocity and
To avoid such problems, it is desirable to be able to temperature preserve their shape along the length of the
predict the pressures, temperatures, and times required to mould allowed them to obtain approximate solutions for
quickly mould “acceptably imperfect” objects. Many of the case of a Newtonian fluid.
the items to be moulded have thin geometries, and special Previously, Whale et al2 presented a simple yet effec-
difficulties are often experienced in using this process for tive model of the injection moulding process used in the
such objects. Improvement in both the accuracy and com- production of thin objects based on lubrication theory in
an attempt to improve the understanding of the process in
such situations. They dealt with a steady-state model and
Address reprint requests to Dr. D. Hill, Department of Mathematics, concentrated on the growth of solidified plastic during the
University of Western Australia, Nedlands 6907, Australia. mould filling stage and, in particular, on its influence on
the flux-pressure relationship within the mould.
Received 19 December 1994; revised 18 March 1996; accepted 23 In the absence of solidification, the physics of this type
April 1996 of flow through narrow channels is well understood. Oc-

Appl. Math. Modelling 1996, Vol. 20, October

0 1996 by Elsevier Science Inc. 0307-904X/96/$15.00
655 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10010 PII s0307-904x196)0006Y-4
Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

kendon followed approximations made by Pearson4 in standard lubrication theory approximations

developing asymptotic methods to analyse the flow and, in
particular, the phenomenon of thermal runaway.
The filling of the mould has been treated by Wang et /0
al.” and Wang6 in an effort to develop an integrated
computer program incorporating a simulation of mould Px=(pUy)y (1)
dynamics. Further computer-aided applications have been pc(UT, + VT,) = kT,, + plJ,!
developed where the filling stage has been simulated by
means of the Hele-Shaw eouations for non-Newtonian where Y is the vertical coordinate; U and V are the
floW.7,8 horizontal and vertical velocities, respectively; T is the
It is the purpose of this paper to further increase the temperature; and p, k, p, and c are the dynamic viscosity,
understanding of the injection moulding process for situa- thermal conductivity in the liquid phase, density, and
tions involving thin geometries, with particular emphasis specific heat of the plastic, and we make the essential
on obtaining results that will be useful for companies such lubrication theory approximation that P = P(X) only.
as the one mentioned above. The following boundary conditions must be satisfied

U,=V=T,=OonY=O (2)
2. The model
To avoid latent heat complications, we concentrate on a -kT,,=k,j .‘,T;i,) on Y=H(X)
steady-state situation. The steady-state model is appropri-
ate only during the filling stage and is convenient for
where k, is the thermal conductivity of the plastic in the
understanding the major aspects of the physics of the
solid phase.
problem. Plastic is driven into the channel (and drawn out
The thickness of the solid sidewall skin is unknown and
the other end) by a fixed pressure difference, and we
must be determined as part of the solution.
assume sufficient time has elapsed so that all transients
In reality, the plastics used in the injection moulding
have settled down. In an infinite mould, either the skin
industry are non-Newtonian in nature. We assume that
thickness reaches an equilibrium level at which viscous
the plastic is a non-Newtonian fluid, having temperature-
heat generation within the plastic balances heat loss to
dependent viscosity, that is,
the mould, or the mould closes off the gap. In a finite
mould, the solid layer maintains the same shape (time -u(r-r,)/r,
p = Poe (3)
invariant) but may or may not attain a constant thickness.
Note, then, that we have an important distinction between where u is constant, (T2 0, and p. is the corresponding
steady state and equilibrium. Newtonian (constant) viscosity. This form has been used
We assume that the plastic is incompressible and that by several authors (for example, Ockendon4 and Pearson?.
the mould is of a finite length L and depth 20, where We introduce the following nondimensional variables:
20 -=KL. The pressure difference is applied between the
ends of the mould, forcing a volume flux Q through the X Y T-T,
x=- z=- hLg( t= -
mould, this flux being assumed constant. The solid plastic
L’ H’ TO
skin forms on the walls of the mould, reducing the chan- (4)
nel gap for flow of liquid plastic. For a given position D D D3
determined by longitudinal coordinate X, the half gap u=-u Q 7 v=-v Q ) P’=zPx
height of the channel will be denoted by H(X).
The plastic is injected with entry temperature T,, while
where prime designates d/dx and it is recalled that
the mould walls are maintained at a constant temperature H = H(X) and hence
T,. The solid-liquid interface is at the solidification tem-
perature q and T, < T, < T, (see Figure 1). a 1 a h’ z d
Exploiting the thin geometry, the equations of mass, _=_-- ---
dX L dx h L dz
momentum, and energy conservation are given by the (5)
a 1 a
-= --
aY hD az

In terms of the new variables equations (1) become

1 1
_t t liquid plastic - udz=-
/0 2h

+ L w

Figure 1. The geometry of the problem.

ah’ut, = t,, + dzh’u - au)ht, + bu:eC”’

720 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October

Studies of injection moulding: 0. Hill

and these are subject to the boundary conditions then we can calculate that

Ph LJ= -_h’u (15)
u=,>=t=() t,= -- at z=l Ly
u; = 1’ = t, = 0 at 2 =() (7) and hence arrive at the simplified energy equation

3 9 z2
qah(l -z2)t, = t,, + Tbg (16)
and the initial conditions
and this equation must be solved subject to
h = 1, t = t,,, at x=0 (8)
h(0) = 1, t(O,z)=t,, t,(x,O)=O,
where Ph (17)
t(x, 1) = 0, t,(x, 1) = - -
PCQ , /+,Q’ T,,- r,
lo = It is the overspecification of the boundary conditions for t
ka a=kT,,UZ’ T,, ’
(9) that enables us to determine h.
ks T, - T, In an investigation of the Newtonian case, Whale
/3=TT. et al.,’ following Austin and Miller,’ obtained approxi-
0 mate solutions by assuming that the velocity and tempera-
ture profiles were shape preserving, that is, solutions of
We note that the Graetz, Peclet, and Nahme-Griffith the form
numbers, respectively, are related to the above through
the relations
Gz=a, Pe = Da,

The situation is completely determined by assigning values

G=ub (10)
T(X,Y) = i(,,[l -+(&)] +T, (18)
to a, b, t,,, a, P, and (T. Unless stated otherwise, all
where 6 and ‘@ were to be determined by physical or
results will be demonstrated using the values
other considerations, subject to the restrictions that

cy= 200, p=o.25, a =0.5, 6,‘(O) = @f(O) = 0

6,(l) = @ir(l) = 1, (19)
7 (11)
b = 0.25, t,,= z From the preceding analysis we can immediately deter-
mine that

&Z) =z2 and * (20)
u(x) = 4H(X)
3. The Newtonian case
Performing a half depth integration over the third of
In this constant viscosity case (p = po, that is, (T= 0) the equations (6) with C= 0, assuming that equation (15)
first two of equations (6) along with appropriate boundary holds, and making use of equations (18) and the last of
conditions yield exact solutions for u and p’, these being equations (19) yielded an ordinary differential equation
which in nondimensional variables is
u = $1 -z2>, Pl=-2h’ (12)

If we employ the exact continuity equation where

g+gzo (13)

with T* = f(X*), and the solid-liquid interface heat con-

which in terms of the nondimensionalised variables is duction boundary condition becomes

-_ -_z-+---_o, (23)
dX h dz h dz

Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October 721

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

where where


with 2e-&‘[’ -q(z)] dz

I(&) = (31)
C, = k'[l - &‘(z)l dz
(25) I;==&
c, = @(lI, C, =(-‘[l - &z)l[l - \ir(z)l dz
and we deduce from equation (30) that the equilibrium
channel depth h, must satisfy
The lubrication theory approximations required that their
solutions must start at some point X* with X* > 0 away h; = $Nh,)(l -h,) (32)
from the injection point X = 0 because of the necessity of
satisfying equation (23). To evaluate the integral I(G), we need to assign veloc-
Combining equations (21) and (23) yields the ordinary ity and temperature profiles. For small c we can assume
differential equation that these will be close to those for the case of tempera-
ture-independent viscosity. To this end we set
--(l-h) (26)
&o=s2, @(5>=54 (33)
and hence
where T = 3b/4P, and equation (23) requires that this
should be solved subject to

1 (34)
h(x*) = - (27)
We note that theAfollowing analysis can be carried out just
where x* =X*/L is the nondimensionalised starting as easily when Q and V are functions of z, which are
point. different from those in equations (33).
The equilibrium depth of the channel h, occurs when We can use Laplace’s method to show that
dh/dx = 0. We deduce from equation (26) that h, must
satisfy the transcendental equation
h; = TCl -h,) (28)
and hence, if the skin thickness is small,
We note that this result is true for the Newtonian case in
general, as can be deduced by ignoring the x derivative 3(1 -h)
term in equation (161, taking a first integral of the result- J(h) - ~ (361
ing ordinary differential equation and using the boundary 4Gh
conditions at z = 1. We also note that taking a second
Figure 2 is a plot of l(G) and its first term asymptotic
integral yields the equilibrium temperature distribution
approximation (35). It shows that the approximation is

t,(z) = $0 -z41

which suggests that we take %z> =z4, and recalling that

m’(z) =z2 yields C, = 2/3, C2 = 4, and C, = 64/105.

4. The non-Newtonian case

In thjs case equations (20) are no longer valid, and a form
for Q(z) must be determined by physical considerations.
Following Whale et a1.2 we arrive at an ordinary differ-
ential equation for h(n) analogous to equation (26). This

(30) Figure 2. Comparison of I(G) (curve A) and its first asymptotic
approximation 3/4iS (curve B).

722 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

quite accurate for 6 > 3/2, and this corresponds to h > h,, out in Figure 3. We also note that the effect of tempera-
where ture dependence of the viscosity is more pronounced for
higher flux values.
This model predicts that if the prescribed flux Q is
(37) high enough, the channel will actually open. The channel
starts at some finite thickness and the fluid is being forced
Substitution of equation (36) into the equilibrium channel through a narrow gap. In circumstances where there are
width equation (32) gives high filling rates, so much heat is generated that the fluid
heats up and the channel widens. A quick calculation
reveals that the channel will initially widen if
1$(1 -he) = h2e (38)
where Y> (42)
(1 - h*)J(h*)

where h* = h(x*). When the skin thickness is small

enough, inequality (42) can be approximated by

If h, > h,, then equilibrium analysis is greatly simplified, 4i?h*4

Y> (43)
although, of course, a full analysis can still be carried out 3(1 -h*>*
if this is not the case.
Equation (38) has the solution which will be valid when

h,= -+++P2+44 U>- (44)
‘ (40) 2

and this value will be greater than the critical value h, as

long as
5. Numerical investigation
(41) We now employ a simple finite difference scheme in an
it1 + $,’ attempt to gain extra insight into the injection moulding
process for the Newtonian case described by equations
Figure 3 shows the development of the solid skin for (12), (161, and (17).
various values of the flux ratio q = Q/QR, where QR is a We discretise the space 0 IX I 1, 0 I z I 1 using a
reference flux (chosen to be such that a = l/2 and b = regular mesh with cell size Ax by AZ and use forward
l/4) and the thermal parameter is u. Larger values of differencing in the x-direction and central differencing in
flux correspond to higher velocities, which means that less the z-direction. We arrive at the discrete system of equa-
heat is lost in traveling along the mould, resulting in a tions
thinner layer.
Higher values of u correspond to lower viscosities, and
we would expect that the corresponding equilibrium skin
thicknesses would be thicker because the amount of heat
generated by viscous drag would be less, and this is borne
= t-!.I+1 - 2tlX, +t,.j_,
2 (45)


L,,~= t(iAx, jAz>, hi = h(iAx), zi = iAz


and equation (45) must hold for 1 < i I M and 1 <j <
N-1,where M=l/Ax and N = ~/AZ.
We solve equation (45) subject to the boundary condi-

h,,= 1, tn,,= 41) t 1.0 =t; / I>

ti N-tr N-1 Phi (47)

t r,N = 0, ’ =__
AZ 1 -hi
Figure 3. Diagram showing the effects of q and CT on the skin
thickness. for all i and j as appropriate.

Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October 723

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

We use a shooting point secant-method iteration

scheme as follows. Starting with ti, N = 0 we guess two
values for hi and from these use the last of equations (47)
to calculate appropriate values of ti, N_ 1. Using each of
these individually in equation (45) we step back through
the j values until we have calculated fi,“. We check to see
if the third of equations (46) is sufficiently well satisfied
(It,,, - ti,,l < 6 for some preset value of 6, small). If this is
not the case, we use the secant method to calculate new
values of hi until the process has converged. The process
is performed for all values of i greater than zero.
In practice it was found that the process converged
quite well and that N = 10,000 was sufficient to calculate
hi accurately to four significant figures. Away from the Figure 5. Numerically generated temperature profiles i=
inlet x = 0 convergence was very rapid, and M = 100 was t(x, z)/t(x,O) for x=0.2, 0.4, 0.5.
sufficient for four-figure accuracy. All results are demon-
strated using these values of M and N. The scheme was
The boundary and initial conditions of the problem re-
found to be numerically suspect near the inlet, and this
quire that
region is further investigated in Section 6.
Figure 4 shows a plot of h(x) obtained using these
values of M and N, some temperature profiles are given f(O)= 0, g(O) = t,, 0 <f(x) < 1,
in Figure 5, and the midlevel temperatures t(x,O) are g Ph (52)
presented in Figure 6. f-l-h
We can compare our solutions with those obtained by
Whale et al. by noting that sufficiently far downstream,
Performing a half depth integration of equation (16) after
t(x, 2) = t(x,O>[1 - @WI substitution of the ansatz (51) yields the ordinary differen-
tial equation
from which we determine that

T(X) = C,t(x, 0) (491

and the heat conduction condition at x =x* gives ag f(8f + 2)

=- (53)
g+Pf i 3(f+1)(3f+1)g’
t(x* 0) = P h* (50)
C,, 1 -h* 4gfC2f 2 + 1)
an equation that is always satisfied by the nature of the cf + lj2(3f + lYf’
difference scheme that we are using! Figure 7 shows a
comparison of the two solutions. At x = 0 this equation is
The preceding analysis suggests that another possible
solution ansatz is 2*0
- = 6(ff’)t,=0 - (fg'hj (54)
t(x, 2) =g(x){l - z”fCX)J (51)




0.3 -

0.2 -


Oo 0.1 0.2 0.3 01 0.5 08 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

x Figure 6. Numerically generated midlevel temperature L,,=

Figure 4. Numerically generated solution for h(x). t(x. 0).

724 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

and at x = 0 this equation is

Integrating this equation and making use of equation (56)

and the fact that m(O) = 0, we can calculate that

for x- 0 (62)

Figure 7. Comparison of the numerical solution for h(x) (curve

A) with that of Whale et al. (curve B) with starting point x*=0.1.
To solve for both f(x) and g(x) we need another
ordinary differential equation. One way to do this is to
calculate the first moment of equation (16) incorporating
If we assume that g’(O) is finite (as seems reasonable the ansatz (51). This gives
from the numerical solutions), then equation (54) can be
used to determine the behaviour of f(x) for x small. We

f’(x) - & for x-0 (55)

g f(6f + 1)
=agf 4(2f + 1)(4f + lIg’
and solving this with the boundary condition f(0) = 0, we i
4gfC3f * + 1)

f(x) -
J-g for x-0 (56)
+ 1yf
(2f + lj2(4f

The coupled system (53) and (63) was solved numerically


The last of equations (52) can be inverted to give using an Euler scheme (step length 6x), with (56) and (621
being used to find values for f(Sx> and g(6xl. Figure 8 is
h=L (57) a comparison of the results obtained by this method with
g+Pf 6x = 10e3 and those obtained by the above numerical
and from this we can calculate that In the non-Newtonian case the velocity profiles cannot
be calculated exactly, although we note that the second of
P equations (6) has the immediate first integral (after using
h’(x) - - ~ for x - 0, (58) UJX, 0) = 0)

that is, this ansatz predicts that the solid skin exhibits a u, z -ptzh2e-“’ (64)
square root singularity in its initial growth.
Equation (53) also provides a way to find the small x
behaviour of g(x). If we let I( , , r ,

m =fg (59)

then equation (53) becomes

=- (60)

Figure 8. Comparison of the numerical solution for h(x) (curve
A) with that obtained by using the ansatz (51) (curve B).

Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October 725

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

The full difference scheme is the set of equations In the new coordinate system these are

ug- VP= 0,


+b e - U’8.l
To get a similarity solution we must simplify these
ui,;+1 -u, , , equations. We will investigate only the constant viscosity
( j.~= p,,) case. Based on the investigations of the previous
sections, we make the assumption that the flow is initially
almost vertical, so that U, and its derivatives are small.
We also assume that P, is small and that T,, +c TX,
for all i and j as appropriate and pi =p’(iAx). because of the initial condition of the problem. Viscous
This system must be solved subject to the boundary heat generation will initially be small, and this effect is
conditions given by equations (47) as well as satisfying the also ignored.
requirement that Making these assumptions and introducing a stream
function q defined by
ui .=o (66)
u=*p;, v=*i (71)
and a discretised version of the integral condition in
so that the first of equations (69) is satisfied, the remain-
equations (6). We use the trapezoidal rule and obtain the
ing three become
condition in the form

(671 (72)
pc(q\~‘pTg + ‘Jf2Tp) = kT&

Values for the u,,~ must be calculated, and this is done as and an J?-momentum equation which can be integrated
follows. For the current value of h,, a second shooting once to give an expression for the pressure.
point secant method is employed. Values of p; are guessed, We introduce the nondimensionalisations
back calculation from u(i, N) = 0 is performed, and equa-
tion (67) is checked. The secant method is used to calcu- ri T-T,
late new values of p’ until sufficient accuracy has been i=--, j=Y *2, t= -
D D’ To
There is a problem with this method in that values of (73)
ui j = u(iAx, jAz) must be calculated. One way of doing
this is to assume that (for small cr, at least) the velocity and in terms of these equations (72) become
profiles will not be much different from those for the
Newtonian case and hence assume that equation (15)

6. A similarity solution where

To study the inlet flow situation, a similarity solution is
developed. We reposition the coordinate axes by defining PCQ
Re= @ Pe = - (75)
tL0 k
d=x, ?=D-Y (68)
are the Reynolds and Peclet numbers, respectively. A
The full set of equations to be solved consists of the scaling analysis suggests the similarity forms
equation of conservation of mass, the Navier-Stokes equa-
tions, and the heat conduction equation (see Ref. 9, p. 12). v=@“, +=9w+1n(?7), t =p”@(~> (76)

726 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

where w and x are constants to be determined. The This problem is easily solved by transferring to parabolic
initial condition t(0,9) = t,, requires that x = 0 and that coordinates, and the solution is found to be, in terms of
the nondimensionalised variables,
NO) = t,, (77) - ._

In terms of the new variables equations (74) reduce to the

pair of ordinary differential equations

II”‘= Re[(w+ l)nKI” - (2w+ l)II”]

CD’ = Pe[( w + l)II + 2wqlI’]@’
We introduce the scaled variable
0 - T,
e=_ (88)
KI=; (79) T,,

is the nondimensionalised temperature distribution in the

and substitute this into equations (78) to yield skin region and

7r’l’= [(w+ I)7r7rTT))

- (2w+ l)?T”] T, - T,
(80) t, = -<o (89)
Q” = Pr[(w + 1)~+ 2w777~‘]@’ T,,

where Continuity of heat flux at the interface then requires that

@‘(A) = -PO (90)

Equations (78) or (80) can be solved numerically, sub-

is the Prandtl number. ject to conditions (77), (821, and (901, along lines similar to
To solve these equations we need three boundary con- those of the previous sections.
ditions for 1-I (or ~1 and two for Q. We assume that the Equations (82) and (90) are used to determine values of
solid-liquid interface is one of the lines of constant q, say n and Q, at v=A and q=A -A, where A is the step
77=A, where A is to be determined. The three boundary length of the numerical integration routine.
conditions on this interface (that is, U = 0, V = 0, T = T,) A value for n( A - 2A) is guessed, and values of n
will be satisfied as long as and Q, are calculated backwards to 7 = 0. The value of
@CO) is compared to its required value of I,,, and the
rI(A)=O, rI’(A) = 0, @(A)=0 (82) discrepancy is used to improve the value of II(A - 2A)
and the process being iterated until it has converged with
With reference to the previous section, based on equation
sufficient accuracy.
(5X), we take
We note that for injection moulding problems the
Prandtl number is very large, and an approximate solution
w= -2, A=_ (83) of equations (80) can be obtained by using this fact.
2P2 Substitution of the second of equations (80) into the
first yields a fifth-order ordinary differential equation, the
The solid-liquid interface condition will be different from form of which suggests that an accurate approximate
that in equation (21, which was based on lubrication solution can be obtained by assuming that PJ = x. This is
theory. In the present situation we solve the steady-state equivalent to solving
heat conduction equation
n “’ = 0 (91)
V?@=O (84)
using the first two boundary conditions in equations (82).
where OCi, ?> is the temperature distribution in the skin The solution is
region and assuming, because w = - 2, the parabolic skin
shape II(q) = A( A - T# (92)
where A is to be determined. The solution of the second
p= T (85) of equations (781, subject to the last of equations (82) and
to equation (90), is then obtained as
We solve equation (84) subject to the boundary conditions
@kc = Tw, @lDg=,fz = T, (86)

Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October 727

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill


r=PehA3 (94)

and equation (77) yields the transcendental equation



)!?A3’2 “0I 0.m 0.1 015 02 0.25 3

Figure 10. Plot of Q(v).

and equation (95) is to be solved to obtain the value of I.
A plot of A against A is given in Figure 9.
For demonstration purposes we use the values A = 0.3, We make the interpretation that for values greater than
p = 2.25, and I, = 7/18 and so A = 0.8606. We find that this, the flow is plug-like (Up = 0). That is, successively
for this value we get I = 0.2659; the corresponding solu- more of the plastic is affected by the wall as P increases,
tion curve for m)(n) is presented in Figure 10. until eventually the flow is fully parabolic. It is from this
By using equations (76) and (921, the nondimensional stage that the shape-preserving solutions would be appro-
horizontal velocity priate approximate solutions. It should also be possible to
blend the numerical and similarity solutions in this region.
DU Figzue 11 is a series of plots of the scaled horizontal
u=-.-..-= (97)
Q +j velocity u(E,l -j>/lOA and of the channel thickness
is found to be

(98) 7. Industrial application

It has been the purpose of this paper to further increase
From this we calculate that the understanding of the injection moulding process for
situations involving thin geometries, with particular em-
,. “2
2AA2 X phasis on obtaining practical hands-on results. One such
u. = - I-12-++15- (99)
Y A3 result concerns the important relationship between the
Y AZ?4
flux and the average pressure drop.
In the Newtonian case, the equations of continuity and
from which we determine that up is first zero when
momentum (the first two of equations (1)) can be com-
bined, in conjunction with the assumption of shape preser-
j?CPX (100) vation (the first of equations (18)) to give
I dx
Physically this means that for a fixed value of .? the jLT 3cL” - (1011
velocity increases parabolically with increasing j until it 20. Q/ o h3(x)
levels out at the value of jj determined by equation (100).

-‘oI/, mm 004 006 0.08 01 012 0.14 0.16 0.m 0.2


Figure 11. Plots of h(i) and ~(2.1 - );)/lOh for 9=0.05, 0.10,
Figure 9. Plot of A against A 0.15.

728 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

where realistic solution ansatz was suggested. The numerical

solution was found to be suspect near the mould inlet, and
an analysis of the situation using the above ansatz sug-
gested the existence of a square root singularity in the
skin thickness at the inlet.
A similarity solution form was then used to study the
is the average pressure drop across the mould.
inlet region of the mould in greater detail. Free parame-
The graph of p against log Q is presented in Figure 12,
ters in the resulting set of equations were chosen so that
along with the corresponding graph for the case when no
the square root singularity behaviour resulted. This ap-
skin forms (h(nc) = 1). It can be seen that in the case
proach was shown to produce realistic velocity profiles,
where there is skin formation, the pressure drop versus
and the amalgamation of the various solution methods
flux graph has a local minimum, that is, there is a mini-
was discussed.
mum pressure drop beneath which flow will not be main-
It has been the aim throughout this paper to develop a
tained. It is a simple matter for industrial injection mould-
qualitative understanding of the behaviour of the melt in
ing practitioners to plot corresponding graphs for their
the injection moulding process with a minimum of mathe-
particular sets of parameter values and use these to quickly
matical and computational complexity. Many extensions of
determine minimum allowable average pressure drops.
this work quickly come to mind. Some of these which are
We also note that for each allowable value of the
currently under investigation include applying the numeri-
average pressure drop there are two different flux values.
cal method in the non-Newtonian case, a deeper analysis
By considering a perturbation around the minimum point
of the similarity solution using curvature terms in the
we deduce that the left branch of the curve is unstable
Navier-Stokes equations, and an investigation of thermal
and hence that the minimum flux is that which occurs at
runaway and hot core flows using modifications of the
the minimum average pressure drop.
above methods.
Other simple rules of thumb can also be obtained by
suitable manipulation of the results presented in this

The author would like to thank the staff of the School of
8. Conclusion Mathematics at the University of East Anglia for their
We have carried out further studies of the filling stage of support and friendship during the course of this work.
the injection moulding process with particular emphasis
on the formation of the layer of solid plastic along the
walls of the mould. Lubrication theory was used to obtain
a manageable set of equations for the steady-state situa- Nomenclature
tion for both Newtonian and non-Newtonian plastics. For
C specific heat
the Newtonian case the equilibrium channel depth and
D mould depth
temperature distribution were calculated. In the non-New-
G Nahme-Griffith number
tonian case, a shape preservation assumption was used to
Gz Graetz number
deduce an equation for the equilibrium channel depth
h depth of channel
and, for the case when the skin thickness is sufficiently
H(X) half gap height of channel
small, an explicit expression for it.
k thermal conductivity
A simple numerical study was undertaken to gain more
L mould length
insight into the process and, by comparing the numerical
P average pressure drop across mould
results with previously presented analytical results, a more
Pe Peclet number
4 flux ratio (Q/Qa>
volume flux
6o6 t: reference flux
TR temperature
u horizontal velocity
V vertical velocity

1. Austin, C. and Miller, A. Problem 6. Two phase flow of hot plastic
through a cold mould. Proceedings of the 1986 Mathematics in
Industry Study Group, ed. F. de Hoog, 1987, pp. 57-69
2. Whale, J., Fowkes, N., Hocking, G., Hill, D. A model of the
log (1
injection moulding process. J. Aust. Math. Sm. Ser. B 1995, 37,
Figure 12. Plot of flux against average pressure drop l-15

Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October 729

Studies of injection moulding: D. Hill

Ockendon, H. Channel flow with temperature dependent viscosity I. Chen, B. S. and Liu, W. H. Numerical simulation and experimen-
and internal viscous dissipation. J. Fluid Mech. 1979, 93, 737-746 tal investigation of injection mould filling with melt solidification.
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generation. J. Fluid Mech. 1977, 83, 191-206 8. Couniot, A. and Crochet, M. J. Finite elements for the numerical
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Technology of Polymer Processing: Proceedings of the International
national Conference on Numerical Methods in Industrial Forming
Conference on Polymer Processing, ed. N. Suh and N. Sung, MIT
Processes, ed. A. A. Balkema, 1986, 165-170
Press, Cambridge, 1979, 293-314
Wang, K. K. Computer-aided engineering for injection moulding 9. Gebhert, B., Jaluria, Y., Mahajan, R. L. and Sammakia, B. Buoy-
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1988, Vol. 84, 37-51 ration. 1988

730 Appl. Math. Modelling, 1996, Vol. 20, October