Prediction of fiber orientation in a rotating compressing and expanding mold

J. Wang, C. A. Silva, J. C. Viana, F. W.J. Van Hattum, A. M. Cunha, Charles L Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the rotating/compressing/expanding mold (RCEM), one mold wall can expand, compress, and rotate during injection molding, thus offering opportunities to control the thermomechanical history of a polymer and its microstructure. A computer simulation of flow and fiber orientation in RCEM was developed. The predictive model extends the generalized Hele-Shaw formulation to account for compression/expansion and rotation of the mold wall, and uses the Folgar-Tucker model for fiber orientation predictions. A 20% GF polypropylene was molded under various molding conditions. The predicted fiber orientation distributions were compared with experiments. The model compares favorably with experiments, provided that the fiber orientation equation is modified by a strain-reduction factor that slows the transient development of fiber alignment. The effect of fountain flow on orientation must also be included to correctly predict fiber orientation near the mold walls, mainly for the case of stationary and linear motions of the mold surface. Compression or expansion of the mold has only a small effect on fiber orientation, but rotation of the mold dramatically changes the orientation, causing fibers to align in the tangential direction across the entire thickness of the molding. This rotation action perturbs the fountain flow and becomes the dominant factor affecting fiber alignment across the entire cavity thickness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1413
Number of pages9
JournalPolymer Engineering and Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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