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Troubleshooting Single-Screw Extrusion Top 10 List

Mark A. Spalding The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI

Gregory A. Campbell Castle Research, Jonesport, ME

Goals

Goals Provide a list of practices and skills that every single-screw extrusion engineer should know.

Provide a list of practices and skills

that every single-screw extrusion

engineer should know.

Top Ten List

1. Know how to calculate the expected rate for a single-screw extruder.

  • Calculation of the rotational and pressure flows in the metering channel.

  • The metering channel controls the rate.

  • Calculation routines are available from SPE or you can easily construct a spreadsheet.

Hopper Meter D
Hopper
Meter
D
  • Estimate the pressure profile.

Campbell, G.A. and Spalding, M.A., “Analyzing and Troubleshooting Single-Screw Extruders,” Hanser Publications, Munich, 2013.

Pressure, MPa

1. Know how to calculate the expected rate for a single-screw extruder.

20

16

12

8

4

0

Solids Melting Metering Conveying Proper operation Improper operation
 

Solids

Melting

Metering

Conveying

Conveying

 

Proper operation

 

Improper operation

771 kg/h

544 kg/h

  • 152 mm diameter extruder

  • 100 rpm screw speed

0

4

8

12

16

20

24

Axial Position, diameters

2. Channels that are designed to operate full must be pressurized.

  • Channels that are only partially filled operate at zero pressure.

  • Partially filled channels create stagnation zones.

  • Stagnation zones will cause some resin to degrade.

  • Degradation products will eventually contaminate the final product.

2. Channels that are designed to operate full must be pressurized.

Flight Tips

Stagnant and

Degraded Resin

2. Channels that are designed to operate full must be pressurized. Flight Tips Stagnant and Degraded

Resin Flow

Region

Flow Direction

2. Channels that are designed to operate full must be pressurized. Flight Tips Stagnant and Degraded
2. Channels that are designed to operate full must be pressurized. Flight Tips Stagnant and Degraded

Film Sample

Hyun, K.S., Spalding, M.A., and Powers, J., "Elimination of a Restriction at the Entrance of Barrier Flighted Extruder Screw Sections," SPE-ANTEC Tech. Papers, 41, 293 (1995).

3. The flight radii should be between 0.5 and 2.5 times the channel depth.

  • Small flight radii create a stagnant region between the flight edge and the screw root.

  • The stagnant region will cause the resin to degrade and result in degradation products in the final product.

Degradation Barrel Interface Screw Root
Degradation
Barrel Interface
Screw Root

3. The flight radii should be between 0.5 and 2.5 times the channel depth.

3. The flight radii should be between 0.5 and 2.5 times the channel depth. The degradation

The degradation at the flight radii were caused by low flow or stagnant regions due to Moffat eddies.

0.2 y 0.1 y 0.0 0.8 0.9 1.0 x x
0.2
y
0.1
y
0.0
0.8
0.9
1.0
x
x

3. The flight radii should be between 0.5 and 2.5 times the channel depth.

3. The flight radii should be between 0.5 and 2.5 times the channel depth. Flight radii

Flight radii design.

R 2 H R 1
R 2
H
R 1
Injection Molded Part
Injection
Molded Part

R

H

0.5 <

< 2.5

Mitigates Moffat Eddies

4. Melting of the resin is the primary method for mixing.

  • The best mixing occurs in the melt film between the solid bed and the barrel wall.

  • The shear stress is very high in the melt film.

  • A secondary mixing section is generally needed for most applications.

Melt film

Melt pool Barrel side Screw side Solid bed
Melt pool
Barrel side
Screw side
Solid bed

4. Melting of the resin is the primary method for mixing.

4. Melting of the resin is the primary method for mixing. 100 parts white ABS to
4. Melting of the resin is the primary method for mixing. 100 parts white ABS to

100 parts white ABS to 1 part black ABS.

Single-flighted screw.

Benkreira, H., Shales, R.W., and Edwards, M.F., “Mixing on Melting in Single-Screw Extrusion,” Int. Polym. Process., 7, 126 (1992).

Campbell, G.A. and Spalding, M.A., “Analyzing and Troubleshooting Single-Screw Extruders,” Hanser Publications, Munich, 2013.

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough.

  • As a screw is rotated faster, a speed will be reached where solid resin is discharged with the extrudate.

  • Solids in the extrudate can look like a poorly mixed system.

  • A secondary mixer or a solids trap is needed for most applications.

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough.

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough. Discharge Cross-sectional

Discharge

Cross-sectional view of the extrudate

Hopper

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough. Discharge Cross-sectional
5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough. Discharge Cross-sectional
5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough. Discharge Cross-sectional

Extrude mixture with 99

parts white pellets with 1

part black pellets.

View extrudate sections.

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough. Discharge Cross-sectional

5. All screws will discharge solid resin if the screw is rotated fast enough.

In Flute Wiper Flight a) axial mixer Flow Mixing Flight Out Flute
In Flute
Wiper
Flight
a) axial mixer
Flow
Mixing
Flight
Out Flute

Mixing

Flight

Mixing Flight Clearance, (u + ) Wiper Flight
Mixing Flight
Clearance, (u + )
Wiper
Flight

b) mixer cross section

Flow
Flow

Maddock-style mixers are

excellent secondary mixers

for trapping and dispersing

solid polymer fragments.

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap

and melt solids.

  • High-performance screws can operate at higher screw speeds, higher rates, and lower discharge temperatures as compared to a conventional screw with a mixer.

  • High-performance screws have deeper metering channels.

  • Several different types of high-performance screws are available.

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap

and melt solids.

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap and melt solids. Common commercially available high-performance

Common commercially available high-performance screws that employ this technology include:

Wave screws.

Energy Transfer (ET) screws.

Fusion screws.

DM2 screws.

Campbell, G.A. and Spalding, M.A., “Analyzing and Troubleshooting Single-Screw Extruders,” Hanser Publications, Munich, 2013.

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap

and melt solids.

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap and melt solids. The Energy Transfer (ET)

The Energy Transfer (ET) screw is constructed by positioning an ET section in the metering section of a conventional screw.

Feed Transition ET Section
Feed
Transition
ET Section

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap

and melt solids.

Flight Undercuts Flow B B B B A B A A A A a) ET Section
Flight Undercuts
Flow
B
B
B
B
A
B
A
A
A
A
a) ET Section
Channel Peaks

b) Channel Cross

Section

Barrel Barrel Barrel V V bx bx V V bz bz Screw Screw Screw
Barrel
Barrel
Barrel
V
V
bx
bx
V
V
bz
bz
Screw
Screw
Screw

6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap

and melt solids.

30 30 rpm rpm 60 60 rpm rpm 90 90 rpm rpm 120 120 rpm rpm
30
30
rpm
rpm
60
60
rpm
rpm
90
90
rpm
rpm
120
120
rpm
rpm
150
150
rpm
rpm
33
33
kg/h
kg/h
62
62
kg/h
kg/h
85
85
kg/h
kg/h
110
110
kg/h
kg/h
135
135
kg/h
kg/h
6. High-performance screws use specially designed channels to trap and melt solids. 30 30 rpm rpm

ET

Screw

Conventional

Screw

7. Injection molding screws use the same design principles as screws

for extruders.

  • All channels must operate full and under pressure.

  • Operational rate is calculated using the mass of the parts and runner system, the plasticating time, and the screw speed.

  • Rotational and pressure flow rates are calculated just like the procedure for extruders.

8. Flow surging is most often caused by a temperature control problem in

the feed section.

  • Proper solids conveying occurs with specific temperatures at the barrel wall and screw surfaces.

  • Forwarding forces at the barrel wall must be maximized and the retarding forces at the screw must be minimized.

  • Forces depend on temperature.

  • Other root causes downstream of solids conveying are known to cause flow surging.

8. Flow surging is most often caused by a temperature control problem in

the feed section.

25 1400 Current Current 1200 20 P1 1000 P2 15 800 Extruder Discharge 600 10 Pump
25
1400
Current
Current
1200
20
P1
1000
P2
15
800
Extruder Discharge
600
10
Pump Inlet
400
5
P1
200
0
0
0
200
400
600
800
1000
Pressure, MPa
Motor Current, A

Time, minutes

203.2 mm

diameter

extruder.

HIPS resin

Two-stage

screw.

8. Flow surging is most often caused by a temperature control problem in

the feed section.

1400 360 Motor Current 1200 320 1000 280 800 240 600 200 Cooling Cooling On Cooling
1400
360
Motor Current
1200
320
1000
280
800
240
600
200
Cooling
Cooling On
Cooling On
Off
400
160
Screw Speed
200
120
0
80
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Time, minutes
Motor Current, A
Screw Speed, rpm

Instability was caused by a high temperature at the

screw surface.

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

  • Two-stage extruders typically operate at a rate that is 1.1 to 1.3 times the rotational flow rate of the first-stage meter.

  • A negative pressure profile exists in the first-stage meter.

  • Vent flow will occur if the second stage limits rate.

  • Vent flow can also occur if the vent diverter is not designed properly.

Pressure, MPa

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

16

12

8

4

0

Pressure, MPa 9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. 16

Vent Opening

Pressure, MPa 9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. 16

Proper operation, no vent flow.

0

6

12

18

24

30

36

Axial Position, diameters

Pressure, MPa

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

16

12

8

4

0

Pressure, MPa 9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. 16

Vent Opening

Pressure, MPa 9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. 16

Proper operation, no vent flow.

Vent Flow

0

6

12

18

24

30

36

Axial Position, diameters

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

  • A vent diverter is positioned in the vent opening to tuck molten resin back into the screw channel.

  • If the diverter is not installed, installed improperly, or not designed properly, then flow of resin out the vent opening is likely.

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. Vent diverter Recessed

Vent diverter

Recessed area

a) b)
a)
b)

This edge is flush with the inside barrel wall

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate.

9. The first-stage metering section of a two-stage screw must control the rate. Vent diverter Barrel

Vent diverter

Barrel Screw
Barrel
Screw

Vent

Opening

Vent

Diverter

10. The first time a screw is installed into an extruder, both the screw and

barrel should be at room temperature.

  • If the screw has the correct outside diameter and it is not bent, then it should slide easily into the barrel.

  • Never force a screw into a barrel.

  • Never install for the first time a cold screw into a hot barrel the hot barrel is oversize (thermal expansion) the screw may slide in easily, but could expand to bind with the barrel.

Summary

  • A list of ten top practices and skills were presented.

  • Single-screw extrusion engineers should be aware of these practices and skills.

Campbell, G.A. and Spalding, M.A., “Analyzing and Troubleshooting Single- Screw Extruders,” Hanser Publications, Munich, 2013.