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Numerical Modelling of Melt Flows in Polymer Extrusion

Project Description

In polymer extrusion, the behaviour of the flow of materials along the screw shows highly variable nature as it is gradually changing from solid to molten state. There are a number of aspects that have not yet been well understood on processing of polymeric materials such as the contact between metal-polymer and polymer-polymer at the solid/molten state; the way of forming and progression of melt pools; conveying of solid materials in the equipment (friction, shear, formation and breakup of solid beds); clear correlation/s between materials properties or melt thermal quality and process energy consumption, etc. Hence, this project aims to understand the flow behaviour of an extruder via combining numerical/computational modelling techniques along with inputs from conventional empirical modelling. A computational algorithm to simulate the flow driven temperature evolution during the extrusion is required to formulate. Navier–Stokes formulations will then be applied in a fixed grid to solve energy, momentum and continuity equations addressing the algorithm. The temperature/pressure dependent properties of the melt will be incorporated the computations as polynomials of respective parameters (under incompressible flow regime). Extruder screw rotation and barrel heater parameters will be taken as inputs to define boundary conditions to the model. Contact behaviours between metal-polymer (at the solid and molten states) and polymer-polymer (at the solid state) will be incorporated to through empirical approach, based on experimental observations. Software codes will be developed to simulate varying process and material conditions. Then, the experimentally measured parameters (melt pressure and melt temperature) can be compared with the computational and empirical model predictions for verification and validation purposes.

Funding Notes

Students with a First class/2.1 degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics or Materials Science subjects are encouraged to apply. A prior knowledge on polymer processing and an MSc in a related filed would also be desirable (but not essential). Experience in computer programming would also be preferable.

This project is being considered for DTA funding. This would provide a full fee waiver and a EPSRC standard stipend. International applicants are welcome to apply but will require access to self-funding.

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Metallurgy and Materials

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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