Application of Network Analysis to Flow Systems with Alternating Wave Channels: Part B (Superimposed Drag-Pressure Flows in Extrusion)
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Due to progress in the development of screw designs over recent decades, numerous high-performance screws have become commercially available in single-screw extrusion. While some of these advanced designs have been studied intensively, others have received comparatively less attention. We developed and validated a semi-numerical network-theory-based modeling approach to predicting flows of shear-thinning polymer melts in wave-dispersion screws. In the first part (Part A), we systematically reduced the complexity of the flow analysis by omitting the influence of the screw rotation on the conveying behavior of the wave zone. In this part (Part B), we extended the original theory by considering the drag flow imposed by the screw. Two- and three-dimensional melt-conveying models were combined to predict locally the conveying characteristics of the wave channels in a discretized flow network. Extensive experiments were performed on a laboratory single-screw extruder, using various barrel designs and wave-dispersion screws. The predictions of our semi-numerical modeling approach for the axial pressure profile along the wave-dispersion zone accurately reproduce the experimental data. Removing the need for time-consuming numerical simulations, this modeling approach enables fast analyses of the conveying behavior of wave-dispersion zones, thereby offering a useful tool for design and optimization studies and process troubleshooting.