The Polymer Mixing Study
The PPI Polymer Mixing Study was initiated in 1990 as an industrially sponsored multi-year research program
aimed at understanding the fundamental and practical engineering aspects of
polymer mixing. The program started under the direction of Professors Costas G. Gogos of Stevens
Institute of Technology and Zehev Tadmor of Technion, Israel Institute of
Technology. During the course of the study, Prof. Tadmor was appointed President of the Technion. Dr. Gogos served as the sole director of
the research program and the technology transfer to industry.
Polymer Mixing Study was supported by a
consortium of industrial organizations whose representatives share biannually
the results of the research work in two-day meetings held at PPI. In
addition, members of the Mixing Study team often visited the sponsors for in-house, wide-audience discussions of their work.
In the past seven years, a growing number of sponsors have come to PPI to
conduct proprietary work on their own polymer systems using the mixing
element evaluators and the on-line sensors
developed in the study.
The Dow Chemical Co.
Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer Corp.
Eastman Chemical Co.
Dow Corning Corporation
Exxon Chemical Co
Mitsubishi Kasei Corp.
E. I. DuPont
de Nemours & Co.
Japan Steel Works
The Polymer Mixing Study research team consisted of full time research engineers who have extensive experience in
experimental and computational methods in polymer processing. The team drew
heavily on the compounding and reactive processing expertise and facilities
of the Polymer Processing Institute. A number of advanced graduate students
complimented the team by performing specific technical
The research work consisted of theoretical, computational, and experimental studies using a
number of thoroughly characterized single and binary polymer systems in
commercial and developmental mixing and processing equipment.
The central objective of the Mixing Study
was to generate technology and apply it to improve the industrial practice of
compounding non-reactive and reactive polymer systems including blends,
alloys, and additives. This objective has been approached through a
comprehensive research program focusing on the following:
examination of the melting behavior of single-component polymer materials
and morphologies development in individual mixing elements and sequences of
Simulations of complex flows
encountered in mixing and
experimental tools and methods for flow
visualization, process monitoring,
and sample analysis.
In addition to the two-day
biannual meetings, the industrial sponsors received detailed and quantitative
information on distributive and dispersive mixing, and morphology of
well-characterized polymer/additives and polymer blend systems. Experimental
data are being used to perfect mixing simulation algorithms. The source code
of these algorithms is being given to the sponsors. Novel on-line sensors for
monitoring the degree of mixedness and polyblend morphology have been
developed and are also being made available to the sponsors.
The following are some research topics
recently addressed by the Polymer Mixing Study:
- Melting phenomena occurring in twin-screw
kneading blocks. The objective of this detailed experimental work is the
study of all the phenomena which lead to melting as well as the modeling
of the melting process in twin-screw extruders
- Morphology development, breakup mechanisms,
dispersion rates, and stabilization in two component immiscible
compatibilized blends. This work has been conducted for a number of rheologically different
materials both under melt-melt mixing as well as dissipative mix-melting
conditions. Scale-up work has also been performed
- Dispersion of solid particulates in
single-component polymer systems
- Dispersion of very low viscosity, reactive, and
non-reactive liquids in single polymer systems, of interest to the
important emerging technology of reactive polymer processing, through
which polymer chain modification and functionalization is achieved.
These studies also address some of the problems of mixing of additives
such as stabilizers, antioxidants, and fire retardants, as well as
to downturn of the global economy during the past three years (2001-2003),
PMS Project was suspended due to lack of external outsourcing fund. Several members, though, continued to work
with PPI ine the utilization of the results obtained during the PMS Project.
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