Simulation of polymer flow using smoothed particle hydrodynamics method



Reactive rotational molding (RRM) is a process to manufacture hollow plastic articles. Comparing to rotational molding of thermoplastics, it decreases the process cycle time due to the reactivity of the system. However, the number of influent parameters is relatively high and optimization of the process is complex. During RRM, the viscosity is one of the key parameters and varies according to the polymer molecular weight due to chemical reactions. Simulation is a way to optimize this process. Prediction of the reactive flow is of great interest to optimize process conditions and wall thickness distribution of the molded part. We developed a solver based on smoothed particle hydrodynamics method. This Lagrangian meshfree method is well adapted to simulate free surface flows like those occurring in RRM. First, we validated the code comparing the simulation results to analytical Couette flow solution and experimental measurements of dam break problem. Then, we performed two-dimensional (2D) and 3D simulations to observe the influence of the change of viscosity on the flow, due to the chemical reactions. Adhesion of the polymer on the mold surface is modeled by new boundary conditions. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 53:2509–2518, 2013. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers