Polymer Processing

In the last few decades, polymers have emerged as a cost-effective, flexible solution for numerous applications in the materials and chemical processing industries. Because of their light weight, impact strength and processability at relatively low temperatures, plastic and rubber parts have experienced enormous growth in demand, despite surging oil prices and competition from alternatives such as metals and glass. At the same time, global competition continues to put pressure on profit margins and time to market, pushing manufacturers to constantly innovate in the areas of product performance and production efficiency.

Virtual prototyping, supported by the breadth and power of ANSYS software, has proven to be a cost-effective approach to designing and manufacturing better polymer products faster and cheaper than ever before. The scalability of ANSYS software provides engineers with the flexibility to quickly create new polymer processes, investigate important details of processes, examine the effects of alternative materials, and test extremely innovative approaches.

Velocity distribution, polymer conversion, monomer concentration, temperature and more are determined in the reactor.

In considering polymer designs and processes, comprehensive multiphysics functionality is often needed to generate a complete virtual model that reveals the interactions between different system components. ANSYS software enables engineers to investigate material modifications, operating condition adjustments and process changes. R&D initiatives — such as Innovative techniques that can lead to major process advancements — can be investigated at a much lower cost, and with a much lower degree of risk.

Engineering simulation solutions from ANSYS are widely used across all polymer processing applications.

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Blow Molding Blow Molding

Software from ANSYS can help process engineers overcome a number of challenges in the area of blow molding, including the critical problem of achieving optimal parison thickness. ANSYS tools support mechanical simulations of compression, top loads and drops to ensure optimal material thickness and product performance. The solutions address all phases of various types of blow molding, including extrusion, injection, stretch and 3-D extrusion. Each phase presents numerous design challenges that can be addressed with flow modeling and analysis.

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Blow molding simulation of one-gallon milk container, including the parison

Coating Coating

ANSYS solutions help engineers to address the complexities and tight tolerances of coating processes, in which correct thickness and uniform application are vital. Simulation software from ANSYS supports the engineering challenges presented by complex fluid rheology and free-surface deformation. The technology has proven capabilities to analyze a wide variety of coating processes, including slot, slide, curtain, blade, and forward and reverse roll for wire, cable and optical fiber coating. 

Cable coating: velocity distribution

Cable coating: coating free surface and thickness distribution

Extrusion Extrusion

Virtual simulation can help engineers to enhance the extrusion process by modeling critical components, such as screws, to ensure a high-quality end product. Software from ANSYS quantifies mixing characteristics, residence time and shear rates in extruders, allowing engineers to evaluate how design and operating condition modifications can affect mixing quality as well as gain a better understanding of the complex motion of particles in these devices. ANSYS tools not only reveal the quality of the mixing and extruding process, but allow a qualitative comparison of different mixing and extruding configurations.

Free surfaces and velocity vectors predicted for deformable blade coating process. Modeling results include pressure field, blade deflection and Von Mises stress distribution in blade.

 

Non-isothermal flow in twin screw extruder. Results help identify areas of high temperature caused by  viscous heating. The quality of mixing is computed by unsteady particle tracking and statistical analysis.

Injection Molding Injection Molding

Software from ANSYS allows engineers to analyze various stages of the injection molding process, including flow in the extruders. Simulation  tools reveal the complex behavior that occurs during the cooling process, especially important for composite materials. The technology can be used to execute virtual mechanical tests, such as top-load testing, compression, drop testing and fatigue analysis, to confirm that a new design will work under specified service conditions during the expected life cycle.

Displacement for fiber-reinforced injection molded part

Courtesy Core Tech.

Structural Analysis & Testing Structural Analysis & Testing

Accurately modeling the behavior of plastic or rubber products involves complex multiphysics. ANSYS provides unequalled technical depth in this area. The software supports accurate modeling that is based on actual geometry, rather than idealized geometry. ANSYS tools help engineers subject parts or assemblies to various mechanical or thermal stresses, yielding valuable information about margins under normal working conditions, limits to rupture and resistance to fatigue. Virtual prototyping identifies potential defects before prototype manufacturing, allowing for inexpensive modifications of both product designs and manufacturing processes.

Buckling of blow-molded bottle

Stress analysis in rubber boot during service

Thermoforming Thermoforming

Thermoforming is a cost-effective way to manufacture relatively complex product shapes, as it does not require high temperatures or high processing pressures. However, it presents new challenges related to obtaining the desired thickness distribution. ANSYS solutions enable engineers to model temperature distributions, the application of stamps, the addition of a pre-blowing stage, deformation during the cooling stage and other factors that affect material thickness and uniformity. ANSYS technology also supports various mechanical tests such as top-load testing, compression, stretching and drop testing.

Simulation results for thermoforming medical device package: (top) finite element mesh automatically refined to capture mold curvature details, (bottom) predicted thickness distribution