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operation of an extrusion plastometer, and demonstrate the relationship between the melt flow index (MFI) and molar mass. OVERVIEW: The extrusion plastometer is a simple form of capillary rheometer, which is commonly used to compare different grades of the same polymer type. The plastometer itself is simply a heated cylinder that is used to extrude a polymer melt. The cylinder is charged with polymer and held for sufficient time to ensure complete melting. A piston carrying a static weight then loads the charge from above. As the load on the piston drives the melt through a die at the bottom of the cylinder, sections of the extrudate are cut-off at measured time intervals. By definition, the MFI is the mass of extrudate driven through the die in a 10-minute interval. Therefore, the index is an indirect measure of viscosity at specified load/temperature combinations. The principal difference between grades of the same polymer that is reflected in the MFI is molar mass. Because of the inverse proportionality between the MFI and viscosity, in general, polymer grades with a higher melt flow index possess lower molar mass. However, the presence of additives, e.g., plasticizers and impurities, can also affect viscosity and consequently, the MFI. The melt flow index is commonly used by suppliers of polymer stock and those in the injection molding or extrusion industries to determine processing conditions for different grades of polymer. For instance, a manufacturer of computer keyboards, which are injection molded, might increase the injection pressure, mold temperature, or hold time for a grade of ABS with a lower than average melt flow index. MATERIALS: ~5g of Dow Styron polystyrene ~5g of Dow acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) ~5g of Philips 66 HLN-120-01 ~5g of Philips 66 HLN-200 ~5g of Philips 66 HLN-350 EQUIPMENT: Tinius-Olsen extrusion plastometer and accessories Scoopula or a pair of scissors to manually cut the extrudate Small beakers Electronic balance High temperature gloves Safety glasses PROCEDURE:

Melt Flow Index

1. Turn on the extrusion plastometer and place the plunger in the sample cylinder. Set the initial operating temperature at 200 C. 2. Allow 15-20 min to stabilize temperature at precisely 200 C. 3. Weigh ca. 5g of both PS and ABS into small beakers. 4. Once the plastometer is thermally stable, pour 5g of PS into the plastometer sample cylinder, and replace the plunger into the cylinder atop the PS sample. (CAUTION: The top of the sample cylinder is ca. 200 C so do not touch the cylinder) 5. Place the 4900g weight atop the plunger, and allow 6-8 min for the PS to melt and produce a bubble-free extrudate (longer preheat time may be required). 6. Cut-off the generated extrudate, and allow the bubble-free extrudate to be produced for the 3 min. 7. Once again, cut-off the extrudate and weigh this sample. 8. Continue taking samples in 3 min. intervals, until no more extrudate is produced, weigh and record each (make sure to keep track of the order in which these samples are taken). 9. Calculate the amount of extrudate that would have been produced in 10 min. This amount per 10 min is the melt flow index for the tested temperature/load combination. 10. Clean-out the sample cylinder using the provided bore cleaner. 11. Repeat the same process for the ABS. 12. Ramp the temperature of the plastometer up to 230 C, and allow 20-15 min for the instrument to stabilize. 13. Repeat the same procedure for the 3 PP samples, with the exception that a 2060g load will be used for testing. 14. Ramp the instrument down to 25 C, and turn the instrument off. 15. Clean up the workspace, plunger, and die. ANALYSIS: Determine the average melt flow index and sample standard deviation for each of the 5 different polymers tested above. Tabulate the polymers tested, load/temperature combinations and MFI values. QUESTIONS: 1. Does there appear to be a trend indicating a dependency of the melt flow index on the order in which the samples for a given polymer were obtained? 2. Compare the MFI of the PS with that of the ABS. What structural or morphological aspects of each polymer give rise to the differences? 3. Compare the MFI of the 3 different grades of PP. What are the factors that give rise to the radically different MFI values for these 3 samples of the same polymer? (Hint: discuss the effect of additives, and the molar mass requirements for each of the intended methods of processing the three polymers) 4. Can MFI values of two different polymers, each obtained under a different temperature/load combination, be used to compare the apparent viscosities of the two polymers? REFERENCES:

Melt Flow Index

1. Morton-Jones, D.H., Polymer Processing, Chapman and Hall, New York, (1989), pp. 44-45. 2. ASTM D 1238-90b.
EMA 4666C - POLYMER PROCESSING LABORATORY EXPERIMENT 2 - MELT FLOW INDEX SUPPLEMENTAL TABLE This sheet provides a listing of the polymers and temperature/load combinations found to be satisfactory by ASTM. Charge Time w/o Load (sec) Charge Time w / Load (sec) 180 180 180 120 60

Polymer Polystyrene ABS PP (Ext. Grade) PP (Gen. Purp.) PP (Inj. Mold. Gr. )

Temp (C) / Load (kg) 200 / 5 200 / 5 230 / 2.16 230 / 2.16 230 / 2.16

Sample Mass (g) 3.5 4 3.2 5 5

Sampling Time (sec) 180 120 120 15 15

180 180 180 240 300

Melt Flow Index