Extended rheological software
An extruder is not a very accurate instrument to measure rheological data of the melt that is being processed. Yet, various suppliers of micro compounders claim to be able to give reliable values for the melt viscosity and the corresponding shear rate and shear stress by rheological measurements in the backflow channel and analyzing these with proprietary software.
However, rheological experts know that these estimated values can be dozens % off the true values, as these estimates usually do not take into account the Bagley correction (for entrance and exit effects in a capillary) and/or the Rabinowitsch correction (for non-Newtonian fluids). Furthermore, since the measurement is in the backflow channel, data can only be generated while recirculating and not while making cast film, strip, or fibre. Besides the motor torque is assumed to be equal to the screw torque, thereby neglecting the very significant frictional losses in the gearbox. Finally, many of these measurements are performed outside the main mixing volume under different shear conditions, not relevant for the extrusion rheology.
In close cooperation with prof. dr. ir. H.E.H. Meijer, a world expert in extruders, extrusion, upscaling and rheology at Eindhoven University of Technology, TUE (The Netherlands). Xplore recently derived rheological relationships based on modelling the rheological process in the conical, twin-screw extruder. Thus our approach is based on the relevant extrusion (shear) conditions which is essential for correct (thermal) upscaling. This complex rheological model relates to our micro compounder/extruder with the actual melt torque, the shear viscosity and the corresponding average shear rate and shear stress.
Possible errors, e.g. related to motor torque, as mentioned above, are circumvented by this innovative approach. These sophisticated, proprietary and beneficial relationships are now programmed in a dedicated software package that is available for Xplore customers of the MC 5, MC 15 HT and PME 5.