Support for the Packaging Industry
All members of the Polymer Institute have worked several years in the plastics packaging industry and continue to find the packaging industry a primary requester of our services. These requests range from simple service requests which take just a few days to long range research projects which may last a year or more. One method of categorizing our support is shown below.
- Materials and property characterization continues be the largest component of our research contributions in packaging. Mechanical, thermal, and processing characteristics are those which are usually requested. The Institute has also been involved in several projects related to chemical induced stress cracking.
- In addition to evaluating materials, we also evaluate structures. Past projects have dealt with evaluating compression response of corrugated plastic piping, gasoline permeation behavior of multilayer containers and determining the failure method of plastic pressure-measurement instruments.
- We do a lot of work with composite materials, particularly with blends and multilayer structures. Mixers, twin screw extruders plus the auxiliary equipment exist to support our capabilities of producing blends and analyzing the resultant materials.
- Another very large contribution to the packaging industry falls into the category of experimental process evaluation. We have the experimental capability to produce samples for the lab scale production of PET containers. This includes both the injection molding of the parison and the making of the container via one of our two reheat-and-blow machines. Other projects have dealt with the evaluation of new extrusion processes and with the processing of multilayer containers.
- Process design and analysis is many times best handles through the use of computer simulation. Two of the institute's staff have extensive experience in the production and use of custom computer simulations to analyze processes and in the use of design. A very diverse set of problems have been successfully completed ranging from multilayer die design to evaluation of a reheat-and-blow process to a simulation of multi-phase flow dealing with the melting and flow of plastic in a new extrusion process.