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A novel polymer extrusion micropelletization process

Aquite, William, dissertant

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator by William Aquite
  • Format Books
  • Publication [Madison, Wis.] : [University of Wisconsin--Madison], 2014.
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (xii, 105 pages) : illustrations (some color)
  • OCLC ocn898213332


  • Polymer micropellets provide a variety of potential applications for different processes in the polymer industry. Conventional pellets are in the size range of 2.5 mm to 5 mm, while micropellets are at least ten times smaller, in the size range of 50 Îơm to 1000 Îơm. The potential benefits to a processor using micropellets include: high surface to volume ratio, high bulk density, fast and even melting rates in extrusion, improved dry flow properties, faster injection molding cycles, and consequently lower energy consumption during processing. More specialized sintering processes that require polymer powders, such as selective sintering techniques, microporous plastics parts manufacturing, and other powder sintering methods would benefit from the production of polymer micropellets since these exhibit the advantages of pellets yet have a lower average size. This work focuses on the study of a technique developed at the Polymer Engineering Center. The technique uses a microcapillary die for the production of micropellets by causing instabilities in extruded polymer threads deformed using an air stream. Tuning of process conditions allow the development of surface disturbances that promote breakup of the threads into pellets, which are subsequently cooled and collected. Although micropellets with high sphericity and a narrow size distribution can be produced using this technique, minimal changes in process conditions also lead to the production of lenticular pellets as well as pellets, fibers and threads with a wide range of size and shape distributions. This work shows how changing processing conditions achieve a variety of shapes and sizes of micropellets, broadening its application for the production of powders from a variety of polymer resins. Different approaches were used, including dimensional analysis and numerical simulation of the micropelletization process. This research reveals the influence of non-linear viscoelastic effects on the dispersion of a polymer thread through surface disturbances. Furthermore, this research reveals how processing parameters can influence the quality of the produced micropellet. Through this work, an economically feasible technique was developed that can produce the raw material for processors that depend on polymer powders that will deliver ideally shaped and distributed micropellets.


  • Advisor: Tim A. Osswald.
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin--Madison 2014.
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 96-105).