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Study of Mixing Efficiency in Roll-Mills

CHIH-HSIANG YAO and ICA MANAS-ZLOCZOWER

Department of Macromolecular Science


Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio 44 1 06
A fluid dynamics analysis package (FIDAP)based on the finite element method
was used to simulate the 2-D, isothermal flow of a power law model fluid in the bank
and nip area of a two roll-mill geometry, including the determination of the free
surface. Dispersive mixing efficiency was analyzed in terms of the shear stresses
generared and the elongational flow characteristics. The latter were quantified
using ii frame invariant flow strength parameter. We found that the converging
region rather than the nip region provides better mixing flow characteristics. We
also found that the presence of vortices in the bank region is not beneficial for
dispersive mixing.

INTRODUCTION

he two roll-mill geometry, invented in 1835 by


Edwin Chaffee for mixing additives into rubber a s
well a s for manufacturing films and sheets, operates
by processing a molten polymer between the rotating
rolls (cylinders). The very simple and versatile design
of the roll-mills (Fig. 1 ) accounts for their wide use in
compounding and calendering. The main difference
between the roll-mills and the calenders is the ratio
between the roll radius and the minimum gap separation between the rolls, which is much higher for
calenders (200 to 500)than for the roll-mills (30to 60).
Most of the hydrodynamic analyses for the two rollmill flow geometry are extensions of Gaskells (1)work
using the lubrication approximation (2-6). More recent developments use numerical methods of calculation, particularly the finite element method (7-10).
Manas-Zloczower et a[. ( 11) attempted to model the
dispersive mixing process in roll-mills. These authors
followed the Takserman-Krozer ( 12) calculation of the
flow field using bipolar coordinates and their own
model of agglomerate rupture in simple shear flow to
predict the dynamics of agglomerate size distribution.
In this paper, we used a fluid dynamics analysis
package-FFIDAP- based on the finite element method
(13) to calculate the flow patterns in a two roll-mill
geometry including the bank region. Dispersive mixing efficiency was analyzed in terms of shear stress
distributions and elongational flow components. A
frame invariant parameter was proposed to quantify
the elongational flow components.

DESCRIPTION OF METHOD

Experimental observations show that the roll-mills


lack lateral (axial) motion almost completely. Therefore a 2-D analysis will be sufficient to characterize the
POLYMER ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE, MID-FEBRUARY 1-,

flow patterns. The field equations (Eqs 1 and 2) were


solved for the isothermal flow of a power-law model
fluid (Eq 3):

V.V=O

(1)

(2)
1 = -m I 9 1 n - l

(3)

where the power law index, n = 0.22, and the consistency index, m = 9.87 X lo4 N s0.22/m2.
are describing the rheological behavior of a rubber compound
with 65 parts SBR and 35 parts carbon black.
We used nonslip boundary conditions on the two
roll surfaces (namely a tangential velocity U, on the
upper roll surface and a tangential velocity U, on the
bottom roll surface). In the bank region, the free surface was calculated from the condition of no normal
flow across this surface, i.e.

V.g = 0

(4)

where r_l is the unit vector normal to the free surface.


For polymer melts of high viscosity and high capillary
numbers, the surface tension does not play a significant role in the determination of the free surface (14).
The point of detachment of the polymer from the
bottom roll and the corresponding blanket thickness
on the upper roll were predicted based on Vlachopouloss isothermal model for the calendering of powerlaw fluids (15). For a power index of 0.22, this model
predicts a ratio h , / h o of 1.27.
The free surface was determined by first selecting a
free surface configuration for a given amount of material and solving the flow problem while keeping
the nodes on the free surface fixed in space. With the
results obtained for the velocity field, a residue for
Vol. 36,NO. 3

305

Chih-Hsiang Yao and Ica Manas-Zloczower

Free

U.

-X

In order to analyze the dispersive mixing efficiency of the flow field, we looked at the elongational
flow characteristics and the distribution of shear
stresses generated. There are numerous studies reported in the literature that point to the increased
efficiency of elongational flows in blending fmmiscible liquids ( 16-20) or breaking solid agglomerates
into a continuous matrix ( 2 1 , 2 2 ) .Also the magnitude of shear stresses generated is a key factor
to be considered in analyzing dispersive mixing
efficiency.
In order to quantify the elongational flow components, we propose a frame invariant flow strength
parameter, S,, defined a s

s,

Q. 1 . Schematic representation of the two roll-millgeometry.

the boundary condition on the free surface is calculated, and the free surface is modified accordingly. In
general, three to five iterations are sufficient to calculate the free surface. Figure 2 presents the results
obtained in four successive iterations (after the fourth
iteration the global relative error in the velocity field
was below 3%).Figure 3 shows the mesh design for the
entire flow domain with 1832 quadrilateral elements
with nine nodal points in each element for a total of
666 1 nodal points.

2 ( tr D 2 ) 2
E

trD2

where D is the rate of deformation tensor and D is


the JaGmann time derivative of 8,(e.g. the time
derivative of D with respect to a frame that rotates
with the angilar velocity of the fluid element). The
flow strength parameter Sf has been used in the past
to characterize various types of steady flows ( 2 3 ) .Its
value ranges from 0 for pure rotational flow to infinite for pure elongational flow. For simple shear
flow, S, has a value of 1 .
The frame invariant flow strength parameter can
also be used in constitutive equations describing the
rheological behavior of fluids in various flow fields.
One example is Larsons model (24),which differentiates between the polymeric fluid response in various
strength flow fields:

where the coefficients a , and a2 depend on the flow


strength S,, m is a power law index, and y is the
magnitude of D.

Fig. 2. Free surface calculation in


the bank area.

3rd

306

POLYMER ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE, MID-FEBRUARY 199s, Vol. 36,NO. 3

Study of Mixing Emiency in Roll-Mills

Fig. 3. Mesh design of theJow


Jeld In a two rollmill geometry.

For graphical purposes, we normalized the flow


strength parameter S, as in Eq 7 below:

N =- Sf

(7)

l+S,

where N , ranges from 0 to 1.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Velocity profiles in the nip region between the two


rolls and in the bank region are shown in Fig. 4. The
boundary conditions used were a rotational speed of
40 cm/s for both rolls and a volume of material on the
rolls equal to l.609Vm,,, where V,
= Z.rrRh, is the
minimum amount (per unit width) of polymer obtained considering a blanket thickness equal to the
minimum gap separation. The development of a vortex
in the bank region can be observed. The pressure
contours for the same boundary conditions are shown

in Fig. 5. The maximum pressure is generated in the


nip region at x = - 1.05 cm.
We have found that for an amount of material on the
rolls exceeding approximately 1.5V,,,,
one or more
vortices are developed in the bank region. Figures 6
and 7 compare the streamline contours for V =
1.194Vmi, (Rg.6) and V = 1.609V,,,
(Fig.7). Later on
we will show that the presence of vortices in the bank
region has no beneficial effect on dispersive mixing
efficiency.
Figures 8 and 9 show the distribution plots for the
parameter N, and shear stress in the bank and nip
regions of the roll-mill (for conditions similar to Fig. 4).
A strong (elongationallflow (high values of N,) is characteristic for the converging area to the nip region.
This region shows also high shear stresses. In fact, it
is the Y-shaped region clearly pictured in Fig. 9 that
exhibits good flow characteristics for dispersive mix-

Fig. 4 . Velocity vector plot (U, =


U, = 40 c m / s ; R, = R, = 15 cm:
2h, = 0.3 cml.

POLYMER ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE, MID-FEBRUARY I=,

Vol. 36, NO. 3

307

Chih-Hsiang Yao and Ica Manas-Zloczower


A.

0.299

B.
c.
D.

0.897

E.
F.
G.

H.

I.
J.
Min.
Max.

Fcg. 5. Pressure contour plot for


the same geometry and operating
conditions as in Fcg. 4.

A.
B.
C.

D.

1.495
2.093
2.692
3.290
3.888
4.486
5.084
5.682

0.000.
5.981(MPa)

5.00
10.00
15.00
20.00

25.00
30.00
35.00
40.00
45.00
50.00

Fcg. 6. Streamline contour plot


/U,= U, = 40 cm/s;R, = R, = 15
cm; 2h, = 0.5 cm; V/ V, = 1.194).

- 2.920
59.078

ing (high values for N, and shear stress). The nip


region shows overall low mixing capability in spite of
the two high shear stress stripes near the roll surfaces. Also, the vortex region, exhibiting more rotational flow and low shear stresses is not effective in
mixing. Figures 10 and 1 I show the volumetric distributions for the parameter N, and shear stress. These
Figures indicate a broad distribution of flow regimes
for the roll-mills.
We looked at the influence of the friction ratio (ratio
of the tangential velocities U,/U, for the two rolls) on
the mixing efficiency of the roll-mills. Table 1 gives the
average flow field characteristics for three different
friction ratios (the average values were obtained by
weighing the corresponding parameters for each element by the area of the element itself for the flow
domain). The last two columns in the Table were cal308

culated based on the concept of better mixing. In the


mixing process, we would like the material to experience both high shear stresses and elongational flow at
the same time. Although increasing the friction ratio
generates higher shear stresses, the overall mixing
performance, as judged from the last two columns in
Table 1, is not improved.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS


In this paper, we presented the results of 2-D, isothermal flow simulations of a power-law model fluid in
a two roll-mill geometry with a free surface in the bank
region. The flow patterns were obtained by using a
fluid dynamics analysis package based on the finite
element method. The flow field was characterized for
dispersive mixing efficiency in terms of shear stresses

POLYMER ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE, MID-FEBRUARY 1996, VOI. 36,NO. 3

Study of Mixing Efliiency in Roll-Mills

A.
B.

C.

D.
E.

Min.
Max.

4.00
6.00
8.00

10.00
12.00
- 0.07
14.59

Fig. 7. Streamline contour plot


(U,= U, = 4 0 c m / s : R , = R:! = 15
cm: Zh, = 0.3 cm: VlV,,, = 1.609).

50

45
40

Fig. 8. Distribution plot o_f the parameter N, for the same


geometry and operating conditions as in Fq. 4.

i-

0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

Ns
FUJ. 10. Volumetric distribution of the parameter N , in the nip
and bank regionfor the same geometry and operating conditions as in Fig. 4.

25 -

,--.
8
20 -

15-

1
I

10 -

Fig. 9. Distribution plot qf the shear stress for the same geometry and operating conditions as in Fq. 4.

generated and a parameter quantifying elongational


flow components. This last parameter was defined in a
frame invariant manner, which makes it useful for
further use in constitutive equations describing the
rheological behavior of fluids as a function of the flow

O c 7 0.00
0.

Fig. 1 1 . Volumetric distribution of the shear stress in the nip


and bank regionfor the same geometry and operating conditions as in Fig. 4.

POLYMER ENGINEERINGAND SCIENCE, MID-FEBRUARY 1 W , Vol. 36,No. 3

309

Chih-Hsiang Yao and lca Manas-aczower


Table 1. Average Flow Field Characteristics in the Nip
and Bank Region.

Friction Ratio
(U,/UJ

Ns

+(MPa)

40140 = 1 .OO 0.377 0.1664


41/39 = 1.05 0.376 0.1666
42/38 = 1.11 0.374 0.1670

Material
Material
Experiencing Expenensing
Ns 2 0.5
N,
Ns
8721

22.94%
22.70%
22.24%

& T Z +

39.54%
39.51%
39.39%

field strength. We found that the converging region


rather than the nip region provides better mixing flow
characteristics. We also found that the presence of
vortices in the bank region is not beneficial for dispersive mixing. The overall mixing performance is not
improved by increasing the friction ratio between the
two rolls.

ACIQVOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to acknowledge the use of
computing services of the Ohio Supercomputer Center.

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