Numerical Analysis of a Static Mixer with respect to Inflow Conditions using Open Source Software
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In polymer processing, both thermal homogeneity and optical-mechanical homogeneity (mixing quality) of the polymer melt are crucial to part quality. Since in most injection moulding applications mixing is performed in the screw plasticizing unit of the injection moulding machine, product quality heavily depends on its mixing ability. A less commonly used injection moulding application is in-line blending, where two different polymers are molten in separate plasticizing units and combined during the injection process before they pass a static mixer located in the nozzle of the moulding machine.
In our work, we characterize the mixing performance of a static mixer by (i) statistical analysis, specifically the discrete pairwise correlation function (DCPF), which provides a measure of the spatial distribution of the minor in the major phase, and (ii) the kinematic parameter-based stretching efficiency introduced by Ottino, which is a good indicator of mixing because stretching increases exponentially in chaotic flows.