M. van der Ham
- Controlled peroxide-induced degradation of polypropylene in a twin-screw extruder: change of molecular weight distribution under conditions controlled by micromixing
- Chemical Engineering Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 66 | 22
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
Controlled degradation of polypropylene (PP) by peroxide was carried out in a laboratory twin-screw extruder ZSK 18 and the change in Molecular Weight Distribution (MWD) was measured using Size Exclusion Chromatography-Differential Viscosimetry (SEC-DV). The MWD results were compared to MWD predictions from a kinetic model developed and validated in earlier work (Iedema et al., 2001) assuming ideal mixing. Clear deviations were observed - the measured MWD was broader - that could only be explained by unaccounted heterogeneity in the extruder. Incorporating the relatively narrow Residence Time Distribution (RTD) in the twin-screw extruder did not lead to MWD broadening. In contrast, the exponential RTD of a Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) yielded a MWD widening that was too extreme. A new micromixing model, based on the striation thinning model by Ottino (1980), was constructed partly based on Monte Carlo sampling using a monomer scission probability (Tobita, 1996). This model was adapted to the geometry of the extruder entrance and the peroxide feed practice consisting of introducing a few per thousand peroxide-rich PP particles among pure PP particles. This micromixing model indeed allowed obtaining very good matches between measured and modeled MWD. Under different experimental conditions with respect to initial PP quality and amount of peroxide added, with a constant value for the striation thinning parameter the errors between measured and predicted MWD were around 5%.
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