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Barrel Temperature Profiles for Barrier Type Screw (the “hump back” temperature profile) By Timothy W. Womer Feed Section Barrier Section Mtg. Section Feed Throat Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Adap. Die Screw Cooling Resin Type Melt Index Density Melt Temp Target - ºF Z-N LLDPE 1.0 0.918 400 to 430 EXCEED® mLLDPE 1.0 0.918 390 to 420 EXACT® Plastomer 1.2 <0.910 370 to 390IntroductionMore often than not, extrusion operators do not critique the barrel zone temperatures to theresin when being processed when using a barrier type extrusion screw. Typically, it is notuncommon to see the extruder barrel zones set at temperatures lower than the desired melttemperature. When this type of operating condition is used, the control of the extrudatetemperature is totally dependent to the screw geometry and the viscous heat it develops fromthe shear rates that are generated by the channel depths, flight clearances and screw speed
By studying the heater zone layout and how they are located in reference to the differentsections of the screw this will help determine the proper zone setting. This paper will first givethe reasoning of the process, based on the general configuration shown above, then suggestedzone settings for the resin listed above will be recommended
Starting with the DieBased on the resin manufacturers recommended melt temperature for the resin beingprocessed, the die zones and adapter should be set at this recommended temperature
Feed Throat Section 1 The feed throat section should be set to a temperature where it is “warm to the touch”, which issomewhere between 110°F and 120°F. This is warm enough to help pre-heat the material as itenters the extruder, yet cool enough to prevent bridging in the feed throat of the extruder
A good means of monitoring the feed throat temperature is to install an immersion thermometerin the return line of the feed throat cooling water. By installing a Tee fitting in the line, theimmersion thermometer can be fitted; and by placing a globe valve after the thermometer, thewater chamber of the feed throat can be kept full and eliminate cavitation of the system
Screw CoolingThere are basically three Coefficients of Friction that take place in the feed section of the screw,(1) between the barrel and the pellet, (2) between pellet to pellet, and (3) between the root ofthe screw and the plastic pellet
Coefficient of Friction (in the feed section of the screw) 1 3 Screw Cooling 2 1. Pellet to the barrel wall 2. Pellet to the root of the screw 3. Pellet to Pellet 5Screw cooling on the feed section core of the screw should always be installed. In most cases,screw cooling will be a benefit to the process. It will give the operator another “zone” of controlof the extruder. The main theory of “solids conveying” is that the resin must “stick to the barrel”and “slip on the screw”. By cooling the root of the screw it will reduce the Coefficient of Frictionbetween the steel of the screw and the plastic pellet
Feed Section (Zone 1)By cooling the root of the screw and the feed throat section, now Zone 1 can be set to atemperature that will maximize the coefficient of friction at the barrel wall, there in turnmaximizing the solids conveying of the resin. For most polyolefin resins, Zone 1 should be setbetween 300°F and 400°F. The higher the final recommended melt temperature the higherZone 1 can be set. Therefore, this zone needs to be set as high as possible as long as it doesnot cause bridging in the feed throat section. As long as sufficient cooling is used in the feedthroat casing, higher temperatures can be used
2 Metering Section (Zone 5)This zone should be set approximately 10°F to 25°F below the recommended melt temperaturethat the resin supplier suggests or as mentioned earlier 10°F to 25°F below the adapter and diezone settings
Zone 2This zone should be set between 125°F and 175°F higher than Zone 1. This elevated zonetemperature will not cause a higher melt temperature because the resin is still in a pellet form atthis point in the screw geometry. The phenomenon that will happen by using the increasedtemperature in this zone is that it will put more energy into the resin and in turn help in themelting process of the polymer
To melt plastic it requires energy. The energy can be induced into the resin either viamechanical energy from the extruder drive or via electrical energy via the heaters. One of thevalues in calculating the power needed to melt plastic is referred to as the “Specific Heat” of theplastic. Specific Heat has SI units of “BTU/lb/°F. BTU (British Thermal Units) is a form ofenergy which can be expressed as horsepower, joules, watts, etc. So, typically, by inducinglarge amounts of heat via the barrel zones in the rear of the extruder, the drive load oramperage will be reduced
The remaining zones ( Zones 3 & 4)The remaining zones, which in this example there are two zones, should be evenly splitbetween Zone 2 and Zone 5. For example, if there is 60°F difference between Zone 2 and Zone5, then Zone 3 will be set 20°F below Zone 2 and Zone 4 will be set 20°F below Zone 3
Examples of resins listedThe following are starting barrel, adapter and die zones settings for the resins which were listedat the beginning of the paper. With the return water on the screw cooling and feed throathousing set between 100°F and 120°F, the remaining zones should be set as follow:Resin Type Tm Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Adap. DieZ-N LLDPE 415 350 465 445 425 405 415 415EXCEED® mLLDPE 405 325 450 430 410 390 405 405EXACT® Plastomer 380 300 415 400 385 370 380 380ConclusionThe temperature settings suggested in this paper are starting point settings which will bestprocess the resins mentioned here. These barrel zones are specifically recommended forbarrier type screws and will condition the resin in a less stressful manner and help reduce screwand barrel wear due to forcing too cold resin into the barrier section of the screw
This zone should be set approximately 10°F to 25°F below the recommended melt temperature that the resin supplier suggests or as mentioned earlier 10°F to 25°F below the adapter and …
In practice, operators often do not tailor the barrel zone temperatures to the resin processed when using a barrier type extrusion screw. Typically, it is not uncommon to see the extruder barrel zones set at temperatures lower than the desired melt temperature.
Temperatures are raised progressively in barrel sections 3 and 4 to the desired polymer melt temperature. Temperature guidelines for barrel zone 3 are 20 °F (11 °C) below the desired melt temperature for either semicrystalline or amorphous resins. Set barrel 4 temperature at the desired melt temperature.
Proper setting of barrel temperatures will also help reduce screw and barrel wear, which can be caused by forcing cold resin into the barrier section of the screw. For example, a flat temperature profile for PP will not reduce resin viscosity enough to pass through the barrier section.
Barrel temperature in zone 2 is normally set 20–30 °F (11–17 °C) below the melting point of semicrystalline polymers or 125 °F (70 °C) above the Tg of amorphous polymers. In barrel section 2, the polymer is compressed and preheated as it moves forward to barrel section 3.