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Keywords:

  • polyethylene (PE);
  • rotational molding;
  • powders;
  • kinetics (polym.);
  • thermomechanical analysis (TMA)

Abstract

The quality of rotational molded products is strongly affected by the sintering behavior of the powders used in the process. In turn, for a given material, the sintering behavior of polymer powders is dependent on the size and the shape of particles obtained in the milling apparatus. The quality of powders for rotational molding is usually determined by means of size distribution, dry flow, and bulk density tests. However, these tests do not provide insight into the relationship between the shape of powders, the milling conditions, and the sintering behavior during the rotational molding cycle. Nevertheless, the application of mathematical tools to powder analysis can significantly improve the efficiency of the grinding process, looking not only at the size but also at the shape of the powder. This can in turn result in a higher reliability of rotational molding and in better performances of the products obtained in processes dominated by the sintering behavior of polymer powders. In this work the grinding process of recycled high-density polyethylene was analyzed using a quantitative approach to the shape and size of the powders. In particular, shape factors, capable of characterizing powders obtained in different milling conditions, were studied. Finally, the influence of the powders' shape and size on sintering behavior was studied by thermomechanical analysis. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 449–460, 2004