Modeling and simulation of film blowing process



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Texas A&M University


Film blowing process is a flexible mass production technology used for manufacturing thin polymeric films. Its flexibility in using an existing die to produce films of different width and thickness, just by controlling process conditions such as, extrudate velocity, excess pressure, and line speed, makes it an attractive process with less capital investment. Controlling the process conditions to obtain a stable bubble, however, is not a trivial task. It is a costly trial and error procedure, which could result is a large wastage of material and other resources. Hence, it is necessary to develop methods to simulate the process and design it using numerical experiments. This important need of the industry defines the objective of this work. In this dissertation, a transient, axisymmetric, nonisothermal, viscoelastic model is developed to simulate the process, and it is solved using finite element method. Material behavior of polymer melt is described using a modified Phan-Thien-Tanner model in the liquid??like region, and anisotropic Kelvin??Voight model in the solid zone, and the transition is modeled using a simple mixture theory. Crystallization kinetics is described using a modified Avrami model with factors to account for the influence of temperature and strain. Results obtained are compared with available experimental results and the model is used to explore stability issues and the role of different parameters. Software developed using this model comes with a GUI based pre- and post-processor, and it can be easily adapted to use other constitutive models.