Our polymer compounding test trials include polymer compounders ABS plastic materials using double screw compounding, moulding and extrusion expertise followed by mechanical performance testing
Polymer compounding is the process of mixing or blending of polymers and additives and is essential for testtrials. Typically, this process is performed in the molten state with a goal to achieve a homogeneous blend and is a crucial step in the polymer development process.
The need for lightweight, more durable and low emission materials plus the increasing focus on materials that contain recycled materials is forcing the polymer and plastics industry to develop new, advanced materials and compounding polymers plays a key role in this innovation. The goal of a polymer compounder would be to enhance or alter the properties such as physical, optical, aesthetic or thermal characteristics of the base material, or to produce materials with specific qualities through compounding polymers with a range of fillers, reinforcers and additives. Examples of additives used in compounding could include colorants, carbon nano-tubes, wood fibres, cellulose fibres, flame retardants, talcum or glass. Such additives can be processed as pellets, powder or flakes.
Polymer development with industrial-scale plastic compounding lines to check and verify each new compound is expensive and time consuming. Instead, laboratory-scale extrusion compounding offers an efficient approach supporting the development of new and improved materials as it can be used to generate suitable quantities of test samples quickly which can then be evaluated for mechanical properties, rheological performance, emission of volatiles or leaching or migrations studies as appropriate for the application of interest. In this way, the development of novel materials, such as the current rapid interest in biopolymers or bioplastics, can be accelerated to meet consumer and industry demands.
Polymer Compounding Expertise
Our polymer experts run compounding trials within our modern polymer pilot plant facilities. In addition to single screw compounding, Intertek also provides the benefits of double screw compounding, enabling the industry to test and evaluate materials on small scale. For the support of a standard material R&D evaluation approximately 3-5 kg compound is required for physical and analytical material characterisation/evaluation.
Common additives are used for compounding include colorants, flame retardants, talcum, glass and additives for changing the optical or mechanical properties. Such additives can be processed as pellets, powder or flakes by our experts. Our customers will receive the benefits of a Coperion ZSK 18 MEGAlab twin-screw, co-rotating laboratory extruder Ø 18 mm, L/D 44. This unit has a modular construction with exchangeable barrels and all standard screw elements. Our additional polymer processing services include polymer trial injection moulding, blown film and cast film extrusion.
Our twin screw plastic compounding equipment includes
- 2 loss-in-weight feeders
- 1 twin screw side feeder
- 2 atmospheric degassing valves
- 1 vacuum system
- Die plate 2x diameter 3 mm
- Measuring P and T
- Operating window: Max. Temperature 400°C, Throughput 200 gram – 40 kg/h
The Benefits of Lab-scale Compounding
Lab-scale compounding follows the same process and concepts as industrial compounding, however; the smaller scale offers the advantage of a more rapid approach for supporting polymer development and the plastic compounding process. The goals of a lab-scale compounding study can include a range of plastic compounding industry objectives:
- Pilot-scale production of compounds for customer trials where screening of different formulations is desired
- Process development support for novel materials such as new polymer blends, additives, modifiers, fillers and nanocomposites
- Evaluation of a wide range of properties and characteristics across samples
- Screening of polymers and plastics for specific applications where regulatory compliance or industry standards are important (e.g. Food contact, automotive)
- Evaluation of process stability, filter blocking, dispersion and homogenisation
Decades of Polymer Development Support
Our laboratories have decades of expertise in polymer and plastic product development. Our expertise includes troubleshooting, process optimization, formulation, physical, mechanical and thermal testing, chemical analysis, regulatory compliance and certification.
Intertek technical polymer experts will discuss your requirements and assist you with a basic or thorough evaluation of your polymer compounds and materials.
Contact our specialist staff to discover the ways in which our state of the art facilities may assist your company’s R&D, colorant, additive, minerals, raw materials, masterbatch and testing requirements.