Using Non-Lubricated Squeeze Flow to Obtain Empirical Parameters for Modeling the Injection Molding of Long-Fiber Composites
Lambert, Gregory Michael
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The design of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic (FRT) parts is hindered by the determination of the various empirical parameters associated with the fiber orientation models. A method for obtaining these parameters independent of processing doesn't exist. The work presented here continues efforts to develop a rheological test that can obtain robust orientation model parameters, either by fitting directly to orientation data or by fitting to stress-growth data. First, orientation evolution in a 10 wt% long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene during two homogeneous flows (startup of shear and planar extension) was compared. This comparison had not been performed in the literature previously, and revealed that fiber orientation is significantly faster during planar extension. This contradicts a long-held assumption in the field that orientation dynamics were independent of the type of flow. In other words, shear and extension were assumed to have equal influence on the orientation dynamics. A non-lubricated squeeze flow test was subsequently implemented on 30 wt% short-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene. An analytical solution was developed for the Newtonian case along the lateral centerline of the sample to demonstrate that the flow is indeed a superposition of shear and extension. Furthermore, an existing fiber orientation model was fit to the gap-wise orientation profile, demonstrating that NLSF can, in principle, be used to obtain fiber orientation model parameters. Finally, model parameters obtained for the same FRT by fitting to orientation data from startup of steady shear are shown to be inadequate in predicting the gap-wise orientation profile from NLSF. This work is rounded out with a comparison of the fiber orientation dynamics during startup of shear and non-lubricated squeeze flow using a long-fiber-reinforced polypropylene. Three fiber concentrations (30, 40, and 50 wt%) were used to gauge the influence of fiber concentration on the orientation dynamics. The results suggest that the initial fiber orientation state (initially perpendicular to the flow direction and in the plane parallel to the sample thickness) and the fiber concentration interact to slow down the fiber orientation dynamics during startup of shear when compared to the dynamics starting from a planar random initial state, particularly for the 40 and 50 wt% samples. However, the orientation dynamics during non-lubricated squeeze flow for the same material and initial orientation state were not influenced by fiber concentration. Existing orientation models do not account for the initial-state-dependence and concentration-dependence in a rigorous way. Instead, different fitting parameters must be used for different initial states and concentrations, which suggests that the orientation models do not accurately capture the underlying physics of fiber orientation in FRTs.
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