High-speed gel-spinning of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene
This communication is concerned with the gel-spinning of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) at speeds up to 1500 m/min. It was found that 5 wt% solutions of UHMWPE in paraffin oil could be extruded through a conical die at a rate of 100 m/min. without the appearance of filament irregularities due to elastic solution fracture. These elastic turbulences occur at extrusion speeds of about 5 m/min. Without the addition of 1 wt% of Aluminium-stearate the spinline could be stretched at most to 60 m/min at 170°C but at 210°C it did not break at a speed of 1500 m/min.
These high-speed gel-spinning experiments at temperatures around 200°C yielded polyethylene fibers with a tensile strength of 3.5 GPa. It was observed that drying of the as-spun fiber containing n-hexane at constant length led to excessive crazing.
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