Extrudate swell of linear and branched polyethylenes: ALE simulations and comparison with experiments

TitleExtrudate swell of linear and branched polyethylenes: ALE simulations and comparison with experiments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGanvir, V, Gautham, BP, Pol, H, M. Bhamla, S, Sclesi, L, Thaokar, R, Lele, AK, Mackley, M
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Date PublishedJAN
KeywordsALE-FEM, extrudate swell, Flow birefringence, MultiPass Rheometer, PSD, PTT, XPP

Extrudate swell is a common phenomenon observed in the polymer extrusion industry. Accurate prediction of the dimensions of an extrudate is important for appropriate design of dies for profile extrusion applications. Prediction of extrudate swell has been challenging due to (i) difficulties associated with accurate representation of the constitutive behavior of polymer melts, and (ii) difficulties associated with the simulation of free surfaces, which requires special techniques in the traditionally used Eulerian framework. In a previous work we had argued that an Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian (ALE) based finite element formulation may have advantages in simulating free surface deformations such as in extrudate swell. In the present work we reinforce this argument by comparing our ALE simulations with experimental data on the extrudate swell of commercial grades of linear polyethylene (LLDPE) and branched polyethylene (LOPE). Rheological behavior of the polymers was characterized in shear and uniaxial extensional deformations, and the data was modeled using either the Phan-Thien Tanner (PTT) model or the eXtended Pom-Pom (XPP) model. Additionally, flow birefringence and pressure drop measurements were done using a 10:1 contraction-expansion (CE) slit geometry in a MultiPass Rheometer. Simulated pressure drop and contours of the principal stress difference were compared with experimental data and were found to match well. This provided an independent test for the accuracy of the ALE code and the constitutive equations for simulating a processing-like flow. The polymers were extruded from long (L/D=30) and short (L/D=10) capillaries dies at 190 degrees C. ALE simulations were performed for the same extrusion conditions and the simulated extrudate swell showed good agreement with the experimental data. Crown Copyright (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Type of Journal (Indian or Foreign)Foreign
Impact Factor (IF)1.82
Divison category: 
Polymer Science & Engineering