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Processing of Polymers/plastics Class -01

Basic polymer science The structure of plastics (thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics) relative to properties and processing Additives: The function of additives: stabilisers; plasticizers; fillers; flame retardants; pigments and others. Applications: the plastics. Processing The principles of processes for thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics: thermoplastics: injection, blow and rotational moulding; extrusion: film; pipe; thermoforming: thermosetting plastics : compression andreaction-injection moulding; foam processes; fibre reinforced plastics processes and others. Plastics and the environment: recycling; ecology;

1.1 POLYMERS: Plastics and synthetic rubber, the term polymers derived from Greek words poly meaning many, and mers meaning unit or part. The polymers consists of large number of separate units (molecules) called monomers. The monomers are then fused or joined together, usually using heat and pressure, to make long chains that result in a material with a useful blend of properties. The monomers are joined together end to end in a polymerization reaction. These polymers are the macromolecules, where in each molecule is either a long chain or a network of repeating units, all are bonded together. These are non-crystalline solids at ordinary temperatures, but pass through a viscous state at elevating temperature

The monomers are held together in a polymer chain by the strong attractive forces between molecules, while much weaker forces hold the polymer chains together. Most polymers are made from carbon some polymers are also made from inorganic chemicals such as silicates and silicon. The naturally occurring polymers include- proteins, cellulose, resins, Starch, shellac etc. There are synthetic polymers such as polyethylene, polystyrene, nylon, terylene etc termed under plastic fibers and elastomers. The properties of synthetic polymers are superior. Size of polymer 700 units in case of LDPE 1, 70000

Polymerization: - Linking of monomers. 1. Addition Polymerization: (a) Chain polymerization Under suitable pressure and temperature in presence of catalyst and initiator, adding of monomers, dimers, trimers, and so on until long polymer chain is terminated. e.g. polyethylene is produced by ethylene monomers linear polymer can be converted into branched polymer by removing side group and replacing it with a chain, if many such branches are formed a network structure results.

(b) Branched polymerization (High density polyethylene-HDPE)

2. Co-Polymerization: The process in which two or more different monomers are added together. Many monomers will not polymerize with this process but will copolymerize with other compounds. (Ethyl vinyl chloride-ethylene +vinly chloride)

Some examples of grafted copolymers are styrene-butadiene, styrene-acrylonitrile, and some acetals. 3. Condensation PolymerisationIn this process two or more reacting compounds may be involved and there is a repetitive elimination of smaller molecules to form a by product. For e.g. in case of phenol formaldehyde, phenol and formaldehyde undergo condensation resulting in a by product being water. The catalyst metacrisol here there is growth perpendicular to chain, (This is called cross linking) Size of polymer 700 units in case of LDPE 1, 70000

The two monomers in a copolymer are combined during the CHEMICAL REACTION of polymerization. Materials called "ALLOYS" are manufactured by the SIMPLE MIXING of two or more POLYMERS with a resulting blending of properties which are often better than either individual material. There is no chemical reaction in this process. Some examples of "alloys" are Polyphenylene Oxide/High Impact Styrene, Polycarbonate/ABS, and ABS/PVC.

Class -02 1.2 PLASTICS: Plastics are fairly complex derivatives of organic compounds. They consist of Carbon chemically combined with Hydrogen, Oxygen and other non-metallic substances. The word Plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos, meaning able to be molded.

TYPES of PLASTICS: 1. Thermosetting plastics: These plastics undergo number of chemical changes on heating and are infusible and insoluble articles. The chemical change is not reversible, thermosetting plastics do not soften on reheating and cant be reworked, they rather become harder due to completition of left over polymerization reaction. Eventually useful properties of plastics get destroyed. This is called degradation e.g. alkyls, epoxides, metamines polyesters, etc. 2. Thermoplastics: These plastics soften under heat and harden on cooling and can be softened under heat. Then they retain their fusibility, solubility and capability of being repeatedly shaped. The mechanical properties of these plastics are rather sensitive to temperature and when exposed to heat may cause thermal degradation, E.g. PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, poly-tetra-flouro-ethylene.

Thermosetting plastics are cross linked polymers. Thermoplastics are linear or branched linear polymers. Thermosetting plastics are usually more stronger ,harder and more brittle, Thermoplastics are further classified as follows: 1. Crystalline: If polymer chains are packed in an organized way are called crystalline polymer. e.g. nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester. 2. Amorphous: If the polymer chains have no organized pattern E.g. PVC , and ABS(acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) 3. Liquid crystalline polymers: Here chains are organized like rod like structure.

THERMOPLASTICS -Acrylics: synthetic fibres, lenses, dust covers, windows. -Cellulosics: spectacles, tooth brush, typewriter , keys, handles. -Nylon: gears, brushings, synthetic fibers, zippers, engine parts. -Polystyrene: bottles, synthetic fibers. -Polycarbonates: crash helmets, feeding bottles, telephones, battery case. -HDPE- drums, toys, insulation piping. -LDPE- bottles, toys, films, kitchenware, insulation ,carry bags. -PVC- pipes, sheets, cable insulation, flooring, bottles. -Polypropylene- ropes, vacuum flasks. -Polyethylene- sports shoes, gaskets, roller skate wheels. -Teflon(ptfe)- frying pan and other coating. b) Thermo setting polymers 1. Epoxies Characteristics: Excellent combination of mechanical properties and corrosion resistance; dimensionally stable; good adhesion; relatively inexpensive; good electrical properties. Application: Electrical moldings, sinks, adhesives, protective coatings, used with fiberglass laminates.

2. Phenolics Characteristics: Excellent thermal stability to over 150o C; may be compounded with a large number of resins, fillers, etc.; inexpensive. Application: Motor housing, telephones, auto distributors, electrical fixtures.

Class - 03 1.3 Addition to polymers: Additives are the agents added to plastics to impart certain required properties to the plastic. The additives add specific properties to the polymers. Plasticizers: Liquid with high BP and low molecular weight, added to improve the plastic behavior of the polymer, its function is to separate the molecules, thus intermolecular forces are reduced there by making deformation easier, they are oily in nature , organic solvents , resins and even water is used. Fillers: They are used to economize on quantity of polymers required and to vary the properties to some extent e.g. for mechanical strength, electrical resistance etc. A filler used for enhancing the mechanical strength is termed REINFORCE FILLERS. A filler is commonly fibrous in nature and is chemically inert. E.g. wood flour, cellulose, cotton, and paper for strength purposes, Mica/asbestos for heat resistance, Talc for acid resistance etc. Catalysts: Promotes faster and more complete polymerization , they are called accelerators and hardness. e.g. benzol peroxide. Initiators: To initiate polymerization they stabilize the ends of reaction site of molecular chain e.g. H2O2 is a common initiator.

Dyes and Pigments: They are used to impart desired color to the polymers, E.g. titanium oxide for white, iron oxide for yellow and red etc, Calcium carbonate is added to dilute the color. Plasticizers: They are used to improve the flow density and moulding properties. Fillers: These enhance the mechanical properties, reduce shrinkage and weight. Lubricants: Improve the mouldability and help in extraction from the mould, e.g. wax. Stabilizers: To prevent deterioration due to heat e.g. zinc soap.

Properties of plastics:

1. Light in weight 2. Good resistance to most of chemicals 3. Good corrosion resistance 4. High electrical insulation 5. Easy to shape and mould 6. Can be made transparent or colored 7. Non resonant 8. Good resistance peeling 9. Non conductance of heat 10.Resistance to moisture (damping capacity) 11. Low thermal conductivity

ADVANTAGES 1. Resistant to corrosion 2. Low electrical and thermal conductivity 3. Low Density 4. High strength to weight ratio 5. Relatively low cost DISADVANTAGES: 1. 2. 3. 4. Comparatively high cost Sensitive to higher temperature Inflammability Inferior strength and wear resistance as compared to metals

ELASTOMERS: These are special class of linear polymers that display on exceptionally large amount of elastic deformation when a force is applied. Many can be stretched to several times their original length. Upon release of the force , the deformation can be completely reversed as materials quickly return to its

original shape, in addition cycle can be repeated numerous times with the identical result. The elastic property of most of engg.materials are the result of the change in the distance adjacent atoms (i.e bond length) when loads are applied when the applied load is removed the inter atomic forces return all to the atoms to the original position and elastic deformation is recovered completely. In the elastomers, the linear chain type molecule are twisted and curled, like a coil spring, when a force is applied the polymer stretches by uncoiling when the load is removed , the molecules recoil and the material returns to its original size and shape. The relationship between stress and strain does not follow the hookes law(stress/strain = youngs modulus) By small addition cross linking the coiled molecules elastomers become soft and flexible, additional cross linking results in material becoming harder, stiffer, and brittle, like rubber band bowling balls, thus enng. Elastomers can be tailored to process wide range of properties and stress strain characteristics. Rubber: Natural rubber the oldest commercial elastomer obtained from tree , in its crude form its an excellent adhesive and many can be made by dissolving in suitable solvents. Vulcanized rubber can be used as enng. Materials which impart strength. Additives like carbon black improves stiffness and toughness. Accelerator can be added for rapid vulcanization , softness and fillers can be added. Rubber can be now compounded with fabrics, steel wires etc to impart strength e.g. vehicle tyre and heavy duty conveyor belts.

BIO-DEGRADABLE plastics. One third of the plastics produced is in the disposable products such as bottles, packaging, carry bags, etc. with the growing use plastics and is causing concern over environmental issues regarding disposal of plastic products, major efforts are under way to develop to develop bio-degradable plastics, the different bio plastics are currently available these are STARCH based bio-plastics, LACTIC based bioplastics, and bio-plastics made from fermentation of SUGAR. These three types of plastics are degradable over various period of time (from few months to few years). These plastics are designed degrade completely when exposed to micro-organisms in soil and water , without producing toxic bi-products.

The starch based plastics are very popular in use, in this system starch granules are processed into powders which is heated and becomes sticky liquid this liquid is then cooled formed into pellets and processed in conventional plastic processing equipments, the various additives are blended with starch to impart special characteristics to the bio-plastic material. In LACTIC based system fermenting corn to produce lactic acid which s then polymerized to form a polyester resin.

RECYCLING OF PLASTICS All plastics can be recycled. Thermoplastics can be remelted and made into new products. Thermosetting plastics can be ground, commingled (mixed), and then used as filler in moldable thermoplastic materials. Highly filled and reinforced thermosetting plastics can be pulverized and used in new composite formulations. Chemical recycling is a depolymerization process that uses heat and chemicals to break plastic molecules down into more basic components, which can then be reused. Another process, called pyrolysis, vaporizes and condenses both thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics into hydrocarbon liquids. If plastic types are not segregated, the recycled plastic cannot achieve high remolding performance, which results in decreased market value of the recycled plastic. Other factors can adversely affect the quality of recycled plastics. These factors include the possible degradation of the plastic during its original life cycle and the possible addition of foreign materials to the scrap recycled plastic during the recycling process. For health reasons, recycled plastics are rarely made into food containers. Instead, most recycled plastics are typically made into items such as carpet fibers, motor oil bottles, trash carts, soap packages, and textile fibers.

Class -04 1.4 PROCESSING PLASTICS Similar to metal but much easier to form and shape. Molded casted and formed with ease. Plastics melt at low temperatures. Easy to handle and less energy required to process. Plastics are available in the form of pellets/crystals/powders. Liquid plastics are used in making reinforced plastic parts. CASTING: The casting process is similar to that of molding plaster or cement. Its simple, no fillers and no pressing is required, liquid polymers are simply poured into the mould; all the plastics cant be mould. The casting process is also used to make furniture parts, tabletops, sinks, and acrylic window sheets. Casting is preferred for low volume of production (as making die is expensive) Thermoplastics: PVC, nylon, acrylics, Thermosetting: phenols, epoxides, polyesters, silicones,

Centrifugal Casting

Molten plastic is poured into rotating mould; E.g. pipes, tubes etc can be cast.

INJECTION MOULDING It is used most commonly for mass production of thermoplastics. The thermoplastics are heated above the melting point. High temperature during injection generates high temperature at which polymerization and cross linking takes place. After the parts are sufficiently cooled the moulds are opened and the part is ejected and mould should be of split type, for easy ejection, mould to be artificially

cooled by insulating water. Injection molding is used for production of cups, containers, housings etc.

Time= 5 to 30 sec Temp= 150-370c pr. =35to 140Mpa.


Screw is incorporated for plasticizing and filling action, by shearing and frictional effects and the axial motion of screw provides the filling action. The process is suitable for intricate parts, threaded parts thin walled parts, surface finish and dimensional accuracy are good.

Class -05 1.5 EXTRUSION (SCREW TYPE) Extrusion is used for producing long plastic products with uniform cross-section, like pipes and tubes. In extrusion, the powdered polymer is fed from a hopper into a heated chamber, where polymer melts and it is extruded out of the die using screw. The extruded part coming out of the die is cooled using cold water or air.

- all thermoplastics , thermosetting generally not suitable, - rods, pipes, tubes, ropes, films, etc - products are cooled, by air blasting or water circulation,

Extrusion is a continuous process, as opposed to all other plastic production processes, which start over at the beginning of the process after each new part is removed from the mold. In the extrusion process, plastic pellets are first heated in a long barrel. As the continuous plastic form emerges from the die opening, it is cooled and solidified, and the continuous plastic form is then cut to the desired length. Melted thermoplastic forced through extremely fine die holes can be cooled and woven into fabrics for clothes, curtains, and carpets.


First, thermosetting resin is placed into a steel mold. The application of heat and pressure, which accelerate cross-linking of the resin, softens the material and squeezes it into all parts of the mold to form the desired shape. Once the material has cooled and hardened, the newly formed object is removed from the mold. This process creates hard, heat-resistant

plastic products, including dinnerware, telephones, television set frames, and electrical parts. - like closed die forging, - pre measured plastic crystals are placed in heated mould and compressed at suitable pressure ( 20-30 Mpa) TRANSFER MOULDING Transforming utilizes extrusion-moulding principle. An excess quantity of polymer is loaded into the transfer pot, from which it is pushed through an orifice into the mould cavity, by action of a punch. After curing, entire shot is ejected. Temperature and pressure is maintained until curing completes.

- Heat and pressure are applied to plastics separately outside the mould,

when it becomes fluid its then transferred to the mould under pressure, after removing is cured. - Costlier and easier. - Improves toughness and strength. - Reinforce filler may be used.


Extruded tube is placed between the two parts, the two halves of the mould move towards each other so that mould closes over the tube. The tube gets pinched off and welded at bottom by closing the mould. The tube is then expanded by internal pressure usually by hot air, which forces the tube against the walls of the mould, the components are cooled and mould opens to release the component.


Here two or more monomers are melted into a unit where they are thoroughly mixed by the impringement of liquid streams that have been pressurized bw/n 2000 to 3000 psi, the process is then reduced and combined stream exits the mixed head directly into the mould, there is a chemical reaction takingplace between the two components resulting in polymerization, Heating is not required,

production rates depends upon curing time ( less than 1 min). moulds are made fromsteel, Al or Ni Surface finish is excellent, e.g. steereing wheels, bumpers, wheel cover, door panels, picnic coolers, etc. suitable for large parts. Equipment iscostly. THERMO FORMING:-In this process thermo plastic material is heated to working temp. To become soft and then form into a finish shape by heat pressure or vacuum. Here the material is placed directly over the die of pattern and heated in place. Pressure or vacuum is applied causing material to draw into the cavity. Material is cooled and removed from die.

ROTATIONAL MOULDING:-it is used to produce hollow seamless products of wild variety of sizes and shapes including storage tanks ,bins and helmets .The process begins with closed moulds or cavities that been fitted with the premeasured amount of thermoplastic powder of liquid. The mould is then rotated simultaneously about 2 perpendicular axes. The mould is then transferred into a cooling chamber where the motion is continued and air or water is used to slowly drop the temp.

FOAM MOULDING:-In foam molding a foaming agent is mixed with the plastic resin. Raw material expands to 2 to 50 times the original size. Both rigid and flexible foams can be produced using thermoplastics of being gas or liquid fight where as flexible foams have interconnected pours that permits the permeability of gas or liquid.

RAPID PROTOTYPING TECHNIQUES: Introduction Rapid Prototyping is the name given to a host of relative technologies that are used to fabricate physical objects from CAD data sources. In Rapid Prototyping the material is added layer by layer to produce the part, hence it is termed as an additive process.

The parts produced are not real proto types as they are made from materials whose properties are inferior to that of the actual machine part. Rapid Prototyping has also been referred to as Solid Free-Form Manufacturing, Computer Automated Manufacturing, and layered Manufacturing. Rapid Prototyping models can be used for testing purposes, can be used to create male models for tooling, and in some cases they can also be used as the final part but generally they are not strong enough. The materials used in Rapid Prototyping are limited and dependent on the method chosen. Numerous plastics, ceramics, metals ranging from stainless steel to titanium and wood like paper are some of them. THE BASIC PROCESS: 1) Create a cad model of the design. 2) Convert the cad model to STL format. 3) Slice the STL file into thin cross sectional layers 4) Constructs the model one layer on top of the other. 5) Clean and finish the model. Fused deposition modeling: In this process filaments of heated thermo plastics are extruded from a tip that moves in the xy plane. The controlled extrusion head deposits very thin beads of material on to the build platform to forms the 1st layer. The platform is maintained at a lower temp so that the thermo plastic quickly hardens. After the platform lowers the extrusion head deposit the 2nd layer upon first.

Stereolithography: This process is based on the principle of curing photopolymer into specific shape .A vat containing a mechanism where by a platform can be lowered and raised vertically. The liquid in the mixture of acrylic monomers, oligomers and the photo initiator. When the platform is at the highest position, the layer of liquid above it is shallow. A laser, generating ultra violet beam is then focused along a selected surface area along the photopolymers at surface A and moved in x-y direction. Next, an elevator incrementally lowers the platform into the liquid polymer. A sweeper re-coats the solidified layer with liquid and the laser traces the second layer at on top the first. This process is repeated until the process is complete.

LAMINATED OBJECT MANUFACTURING: in this process, layers of adhesive coated sheet metal are bonded together to form a prototype. The original material consists of paper laminated with heat activated glue and rolled up on spools. A feeder mechanism advances the sheet over the build platform. Next, a heated roller applies pressure to bond the paper to the base. During the build, the excess metal provides excellent support for over hangs and thin walled section. After the first layer is cut, the platform lowers out and fresh metal is advanced. The platform rises to slightly below the previous height and the laser cuts the second layer. This process is repeated as needed to build the part.

SELECTIVE LASER SINTERING: Uses a laser beam to selectively fuse powdered materials such as elastomers and metal into a solid object. Parts are build upon a platform which sits just below the surface in a bin of the heat fusible powder. A laser traces the pattern of the first layer sintering it together. The platform is lowered by the height of the next layer and powder is re-applied. This process is continued until the part is complete.

SOLID GROUND CURING: in this process the part is formed by multiple layers. The photopolymer liquid in each layer is covered with a photomark and cured in a few seconds by a strong ultra violent lamp. The unexposed photo polymer is then removed and voids are filled with molten wax to support next layer. This sequence is repeated until the entire part is formed. 3-D INK JET PRINTING: this process deposits powdered materials in thin layers and selectively binds the powder by ink jet printing of an inorganic binders material. A piston supporting powered bed is lowered incrementally and with each step a layered is deposited and joined by binders. Powder material used are aluminium oxide, silica, silicon carbide etc.

Advantages Objects can be formed with any geometric complexity without the need for any elaborate machine setup. Rapid Prototyping helps to increase effective communication. It helps in decreasing development times as it is a very fast process. It helps to decrease costly mistakes. It helps in extending the product life time by adding necessary features and eliminating redundant features in the design.
APPLICATION OF RAPID PROTOTYPING: 1) Making mould and pattern for casting 2) Injection moulding mould 3) In automobile industries 4) Aerospace industries 5) Investment casting 6) Bio medical application 7) Rapid tooling 8) Rapid manufacturing.