NoExperimental observations of melt temperature profiles and melting performance of extruder screws are reported. A novel temperature sensor consisting of a grid of thermocouple junctions was used to take multiple temperature readings in real time across melt flow in a single screw extruder. Melt pressure in the die and power consumption were also monitored. Three extruder screws at a range of screw speeds were examined for a commercial grade of low density polyethylene. Results showed melt temperature fields at low throughputs to be relatively independent of screw geometry with a flat-shaped temperature profile dominated by conduction. At high throughputs, melting performance and measured temperature fields were highly dependent upon screw geometry. A barrier-flighted screw with Maddock mixer achieved significantly better melting than single flighted screws. Low temperature "shoulder" regions were observed in the temperature profiles of single-flighted screws at high throughput, due to late melting of the solid bed. Stability of the melt flow was also dependent upon screw geometry and the barrier-flighted screw achieving flow with lower variation in melt pressure and temperature. Dimensionless numbers were used to analyze the relative importance of conduction, convection, and viscous shear to the state of the melt at a range of extrusion conditions
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