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ME 350 – Lecture 11 – Chapter 13
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  1. ME 350 – Lecture 11 – Chapter 13 SHAPING PROCESSES FOR PLASTICS • Properties of Polymer Melts • Extrusion • Extrudate Production • Injection Molding • Other Molding Processes • Thermoforming • Casting • Polymer Foam Processing • Product Design Considerations

  2. Trends in Polymer Processing • Applications of plastics have increased at a much faster rate than either metals or ceramics during the last 50 years • Many parts previously made of metals are now being made of plastics • Plastic containers have been largely substituted for glass bottles and jars • Total volume of polymers (plastics and rubbers) now exceeds that of metals

  3. Polymer Melt - Viscosity Shear rate and viscosity: thinner at higher shear rates Temperature & viscosity: thinner at higher temperature

  4. Die Swell, aka: Extruded polymer "remembers" its previous shape when in the larger cross section of the extruder, tries to return to it after leaving the die orifice Swell ratio: rs = Dx / Dd Die swell, a manifestation of viscoelasticity in polymer melts.

  5. Extrusion Heated plastic is forced to flow through a die orifice to provide a long continuous product (tube, sheet, etc.) whose cross‑sectional shape is determined by the die orifice. The extrudate is then cut into desired lengths. Three zones in an extruder: feed, compression, & metering.

  6. Die End of Extruder • Progress of polymer melt through barrel leads ultimately to the die zone • Before the die, the melt passes through a series of wire meshes supported by a stiff plate containing small axial holes called a: • Functions:

  7. Melt Flow in Extruder • Archimedian screw forces polymer melt toward die • Principal transport mechanism is Qd, resulting from friction between the viscous liquid and the rotating screw: • Compressing the polymer melt through the die creates a back pressure that reduces drag flow transport, Qb called: • Resulting flow in extruder is:

  8. Extruder Screw Melt Flow (pg 264-265) Qd = 0.5 π2 D2 N dc sinA cosA Where, D – flight screw diameter N – screw rotational speed dc – screw channel depth A – flight angle Qb ≈ Where, p – head pressure (die) η – melt viscosity L – length of the barrel Assumes leakage flow is negligible Qx = Qd - Qb Drag Flow Qd→ Back Pressure Flow Qb ← Flight angle ‘A’?

  9. Extruder Screw Melt Flow (pg 266) • Boundary Conditions: • With no back pressure • Qx = • 2) With no flow • Qx = • pmax = Qmax Melt flow Ks = (for round opening) Dd – effective die opening Ld – effective die opening length Head pressure pmax

  10. Extrusion Die for Solid Cross Sections • The shape of the die orifice determines the cross sectional shape of the extrudate. • Solid shapes: rods, beams, bars, plates, sheets, etc.

  11. Extrusion Die for Hollow Shapes • Hollow profiles require a “spider” mandrel: • Polymer melt flows around legs supporting the mandrel to reunite into a monolithic tube wall due to: • Mandrel includes an air channel through which air is blown to maintain hollow form of extrudate during hardening

  12. Extrusion Die for Coating Wire • Polymer melt is applied to bare wire as it is pulled at high speed through a die • A slight vacuum is drawn between wire and polymer to promote adhesion of coating

  13. Sheet and Film Production via: Feedstock is passed through a series of rolls to reduce thickness to desired gage • Process is noted for good surface finish and high gage accuracy • Products: PVC floor covering, shower curtains, vinyl table cloths, pool liners, etc.

  14. Injection Molding Polymer is heated to a highly plastic state and forced to flow under high pressure into a mold cavity where it solidifies and the molding is then removed. • Produces discrete components almost always to net shape or near net shape • Typical cycle time 1 to 30 sec • Mold may contain multiple cavities, so multiple moldings are produced each cycle • Some thermosets and elastomers are injection molded, but equipment and operating parameters must be modified to avoid:

  15. Injection Molding Machine Two principal components: • Injection unit (operates similar to an extruder) • Melts and delivers polymer melt (plunger for injection) • Clamping unit • Opens and closes mold each injection cycle

  16. Two‑Plate Mold • Cavity – slightly oversized to allow for shrinkage • Distribution channel • Sprue - leads from nozzle into mold • Runners - lead from sprue to cavity (or cavities) • Gates - constricts flow to: • Ejection system – pins built into moving half of mold • Cooling system – typically water • Air vents – at end of flow path

  17. Three‑Plate Mold Uses three plates to separate parts from sprue and runner when mold opens (Fig 13.24) • Advantages over two-plate mold: • As mold opens, runner and parts disconnect and drop into two separate containers under mold • Allows automatic operation of molding machine • Allows material to be injected at the mold base or middle, rather than side injection, which a two-plate mold must do.

  18. Hot‑Runner Mold • Heaters are located around the runner channels which eliminates solidification of the: • This type of mold saves material that otherwise would be scrap

  19. Shrinkage • Polymers have high thermal expansion coefficients, so significant shrinkage occurs during solidification • Typical shrinkage values: PlasticShrinkage, mm/mm (in/in) Nylon‑6,6 0.020 Polyethylene 0.025 Polystyrene 0.004 PVC 0.005 • Dimensions of mold cavity must be larger than specified part dimensions: Dc= Dp + DpS + DpS2 where Dc = dimension of cavity; Dp = molded part dimension, and S = shrinkage value and the third term on right hand side corrects for shrinkage in the shrinkage

  20. Shrinkage Factors • Fillers in the plastic tend to: • Injection pressure – higher pressures in the mold cavity tend to: • Compaction time – longer time tends to: • Molding temperature - higher temperatures lower polymer melt viscosity, which tends to:

  21. Thermoplastic Foam Injection Molding Molding of thermoplastic parts that possess dense outer skin surrounding lightweight foam center • Part has high stiffness‑to‑weight ratio suited to structural applications • Produced either by introducing a gas into molten plastic in injection unit or by mixing a gas‑producing ingredient with starting pellets • A small amount of melt is injected into mold cavity, where it expands to fill cavity • Foam in contact with cold mold surface collapses to form dense skin, while core retains cellular structure

  22. Injection Molding of Thermosets • Temperatures in the injector are generally: • The barrel length of the injection unit is generally: • Melt is injected into a heated mold, where cross‑linking occurs to cure the plastic • The most time‑consuming step in the cycle:

  23. Compression Molding • A widely used molding process for thermosets • Also used for rubber tires and polymer composites • Molding compound available in several forms: powders or pellets, liquid, or preform • Amount of charge must be precisely controlled (1) charge is loaded, (2) and (3) charge is compressed and cured, and (4) part is ejected and removed.

  24. Molds for Compression Molding • Simpler than injection molds • As opposed to injection molding, there is no: • Limited to simpler part geometries due to lower flow capabilities of TS materials • Mold must be heated, usually by electric resistance, steam, etc • Typical molding materials: phenolics, melamine, epoxies, urethanes, and elastomers • Typical compression-molded products: • Electric plugs, sockets, and housings; pot handles, and dinnerware plates

  25. Transfer Molding TS charge is loaded into a heated chamber; pressure is applied to force the soft polymer into the heated mold. Pot transfer molding: charge is injected from a "pot" through a vertical sprue channel into cavity Plunger transfer molding: plunger injects charge from a heated well through channels into cavity

  26. Compression vs. Transfer Molding • In both processes, scrap is produced each cycle as leftover material, called the: • The TS scrap cannot be recovered • Transfer molding is capable of molding more intricate part shapes than compression molding but not as intricate as injection molding • Transfer molding lends itself to molding with inserts, in which a metal or ceramic insert is placed into cavity prior to injection, and the plastic bonds to insert during molding

  27. Blow Molding • Molding process in which air pressure is used to inflate soft plastic into a mold cavity • Material limited to: • Accomplished in two steps: • Fabrication of a starting tube, called a: • Inflation of the tube to desired final shape • Two methods:

  28. Extrusion Blow Molding (1) extrusion of parison; (2) parison is pinched at the top and sealed at the bottom around a metal blow pin as the two halves of the mold come together; (3) the parison is inflated; and (4) mold is opened to remove the solidified part.

  29. Injection Blow Molding (1) parison is injection molded around a blowing rod; (2) injection mold is opened and parison is transferred to a blow mold; (3) parison is inflated; and (4) blow mold is opened and product removed.

  30. Vacuum Thermoforming • Starting material: • To soften, heat is supplied by radiant electric heaters located on one or both sides Products: bathtubs, contoured skylights, door liners for refrigerators, boat hulls, shower stalls, advertising displays and signs, etc.

  31. Casting Pouring liquid resin into a mold, using gravity to fill cavity, where polymer hardens • Both thermoplastics and thermosets are cast • Thermoplastics: acrylics, polystyrene, polyamides (nylons) and PVC • Thermosetting polymers: polyurethane, unsaturated polyesters, phenolics, and epoxies • Simpler mold • Suited to low quantities

  32. Polymer Foams • A polymer‑and‑gas mixture, with gas added by: • physical mixing or injection (air, nitrogen, CO2) • chemical blowing agent that decomposes at elevated temperatures • Two types: • closed cell (a) • open cell (b) • Product methods: • make the beads first, then feed the beads into a cavity to be fused together (e.g. styrofoam cups) • injection mold using a chemical blowing agent • extrude sheets (least expensive method)

  33. Product Design Guidelines: General • Strength and stiffness • Plastics are not as strong or stiff as metals • Avoid applications where high stresses will be encountered • Creep resistance is also a limitation • Strength‑to‑weight ratios for some plastics are competitive with metals in certain applications

  34. Product Design Guidelines: General • Impact Resistance • Capacity of plastics to absorb impact is generally good; plastics compare favorably with most metals • Service temperatures • Limited relative to metals and ceramics • Thermal expansion • Dimensional changes due to temperature changes much more significant than for metals

  35. Product Design Guidelines: General • Many plastics are subject to degradation from sunlight and other forms of radiation • Some plastics degrade in oxygen and ozone atmospheres • Plastics are soluble in many common solvents • Plastics are resistant to conventional corrosion mechanisms that afflict many metals

  36. Quotes: • One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.  Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.  We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest. – Maya Angelou • There is no amount of money in the world that will make you comfortable if you are not comfortable with yourself. - Stuart Wilde • The world is not moved only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. – Helen Keller • The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. – G.K. Chesterton