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Predicting extrusion instabilities of commercial polyethylene from non-linear rheology measurements

Abstract

Processing at the highest possible throughput rates is essential from an economical point of view. However, various flow instabilities and extrudate distortions like sharkskin, stick slip, and gross melt fracture (GMF) may limit the production rate of high-quality products. Predicting the process conditions leading to the occurrence of rheological instabilities is the key for improving product quality, process control, and optimization. Large-amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) and FT-rheology were used to quantify the non-linear rheological behavior and instabilities of a series of well-characterized commercial polyethylene (PE). From the latter, we derive the critical non-linearity parameter, F 0,c, which corresponds to the normalized intensity of the third harmonic at the critical strain amplitude, γ 0,C (defined by the appearance of the second harmonic), normalized by γ 0,C . The F 0,c is correlated with the high molecular mass fraction of the polymers and with the Deborah numbers. Linear rheological parameters and molecular structures were related to F 0,c. An experimental correlation between F 0,c of commercial PE melts and pressure fluctuations associated with flow instabilities (sharkskin) was established both for capillary rheometry and extrusion.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the Strategic Project PEst-C/CTM/LA0025/2011 (Strategic Project-LA 25-2011-2012). The authors thank also the European Union and EACEA for granting project 2008-0099-EURHEO: The Erasmus Mundus Master in Engineering Rheology. The authors would like also to thank Dr. Dieter Lilge for the molecular characterization and Johannes Müller for the samples and the valuable input.

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Correspondence to Iakovos Vittorias.

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Cyriac, F., Covas, J.A., Hilliou, L.H.G. et al. Predicting extrusion instabilities of commercial polyethylene from non-linear rheology measurements. Rheol Acta 53, 817–829 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00397-014-0798-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00397-014-0798-7

Keywords

  • Polyethylene
  • Instabilities
  • Fourier-Transform-rheology (FT-rheology)
  • LAOS
  • Non-linear rheology