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www.kunststofftech.com © 2007 Carl Hanser Verlag, München Wissenschaftlicher Arbeitskreis der Universitäts-
Wissenschaftlicher Arbeitskreis der Universitäts- Professoren der Kunststofftechnik
Wissenschaftlicher
Arbeitskreis der
Universitäts-
Professoren der
Kunststofftechnik

Zeitschrift Kunststofftechnik Journal of Plastics Technology

archivierte, rezensierte Internetzeitschrift des Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitskreises Kunststofftechnik (WAK) archival, reviewed online Journal of the Scientific Alliance of Polymer Technology www.kunststofftech.com; www.plasticseng.com

07.12.2006

angenommen/accepted: 26.02.2007

eingereicht/handed in:

Prof. Maria Vicoria Candal, Rosa Amalia Morales, Kathleen Gorrin, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Mecánica, Grupo de Polímeros, Venezuela

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

The principal objective of this work was to study the influence of the number of elements has on a fi- nite element mesh’s (FEM) simulation results. The simula-tion results analyzed were weight, and linear shrinkage along the length and width of a injected plastic specimen. Also, simulation results were compared with results obtained from solids modeling software (CAD) and from a simulator software (CAE). The convergence simulation results showed similar trends with the experimental ones. The modeling mesh gives a faster convergence than the simulator one.

Einfluss der Netzdichte auf die Ergebnisse von Spritzgießsimulationen

Das Hauptziel dieser Arbeit besteht in dem Studium des Einflusses der Num-mer von Elementen ei- nes Finite-Elementen-Netzes (FEM) auf die Ergebnisse der Simulation. Die Ergebnisse der Simulati- on, die analysiert wurden, waren das Gewicht und die lineare Kontraktion in der Länge und Breite Richtungen eines Kunststoffteiles, das durch Spritzgiessen hergestellt wurde. Die Ergebnisse, die mit einem CAD-Netz erhalten wurden, wurden mit einem CAE-Netz verglichen. Die Simulationserbegnis- se, die konvergiert wurden, haben ähnliche Tendenzen gezeigt wie die experimetellen Ergebnisse. Die mit dem Modellierungsprogramm erhaltene Netze konvergieren schneller als die mit dem Simula- tionsprogramm erhaltene Netze.

Autor/author

Prof. Maria Vicoria Candal, Rosa Amalia Morales, Kathleen Gorrin, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Mecánica, Grupo de Polímeros, Apartado 89000, Caracas 1080-A, Venezuela

E-Mail-Adresse: mcandal@usb.ve

M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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© 2007 Carl Hanser Verlag, München

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

Maria Vicoria Candal, Rosa Amalia Morales, Kathleen Gorrin, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Departamento de Mecánica, Grupo de Polímeros, Venezuela

The principal objetive of this work was to study the influence of the number of elements has on a finite element mesh’s (FEM) simulation results. The simula- tion results analyzed were weight, and linear shrinkage along the length and width of a injected plastic specimen. Also, simulation results were compared with results obtained from solids modeling software (CAD) and from a simulator software (CAE). The convergence simulation results showed similar trends with the experimental ones. The modeling mesh gives a faster convergence than the simulator one.

Das primäre Ziel dieser Arbeit war es, den Einfluss der Anzahl von Elementen in einem Finite-Elemente-Netz (FEM) auf die Ergebnisse einer Simulation zu untersuchen. Die analysierten Ergebnisse waren das Gewicht und die Längen- und Breitenkontraktion eines Spritzgießbauteils. Die Ergebnisse bei Ver- wendung eines CAD-Netzes wurden mit denen eines CAE-Netzes verglichen. Die Konvergenz der Simulationsergebnisse zeigte vergleichbare Trends wie die experimentellen. Die Netze aus dem Modellierungsprogramm konvergierten schneller als die aus dem Simulationsprogramm erzeugten Netze.

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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1

INTRODUCTION

Nowadays, the search of greater productivity and improvement in the product quality, by the manufacturers, of plastic components has lead to the rapid de- velopment of computer aided engineering (CAE) and computer aided design (CAD) systems. There exist plenty of software available in the market that give numerous advantages to the design and manufacturing areas, as well as to the engineering area by means of the computerized simulation of different proc- esses.

Development of CAD tools for polymers has been carried out since the early 80´s, and since those days it has been considered the main source of predictive engineering. The tools, part of this category, are known as flow analysis. They allow specialist Engineers to create a prototype of one piece or mold for specific processes.

During the last ten years, the use of polymers in manufacturing and the demand of the quality improvement of the molded pieces has increased rapidly, giving as a result, a greater interest in the mathematical modeling of the mold injection process. The first software packages allowed the users to determine the basic processing conditions (temperature injection, mold temperature and injection time), and to balance the flow in the cavities and mold cooling system. For that, the package required a flat model of the selected piece to reduce the fluid prob- lem from 3-D to 2-D. However, during the years the use of CAD software has considerably developed. Among recent advances is the introduction of the Fini- te Element Method, FEM, which is considered as an important improvement of the molding injection simulation. The benefits in the development of the simula- tion software of the injection process are not only found in the filling mold pha- se, but also in the cooling phase and in the shrinkage and warpage analysis. Moreover, alternative methods such as injection assisted by gas, coinjection and thermostabile materials injection, among others are introduced.

Now it is more common to use CAD and CAE for modeling a variety of proces- ses. In the plastic industry these resources are mostly used in the simulation of the injection process. Generally, those tools carried out a numerical analysis through FEM, allowing for engineers to obtain reliable results. Chan et al [1] analyzed the cooling system of a complex panel car using the Fast Finite Ele- ments Method (FFEM) to determine the mold temperatures distribution, in this way the warpage analysis can be performed. Chan et al concluded that the coo- ling system was well optimized, and they also proved that the suggested me- thod gives an excellent performance calculation without convergence problems even in the most complicated cases.

Specifically, CAE tools use a numerical analysis of the designed model in order to predict the real behavior of the piece. One of the numerical techniques more widely used in the science and engineering field is the Finite Element Method (FEM). Basically, this technique requires the idealization of a real physical prob- lem into a mathematical model, transforming the structure into various ele-

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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ments, all of which are connected by a nodes [2]. Then, the model is resolved with a great algebraic equation system.

FEM is a numerical procedure to resolve complex engineering problems. Impor- tant considerations should be taken into account to provide accurate analysis of the results and the numerical solution convergence [3], and to understand the convergence process that leads the numerical method closer to the exact solu- tion. The convergence in FEM can be obtained by two different ways: refine- ment of the mesh (greater number of elements) known as convergence-h, whe-

re the “h” term stands for the size of the element side that is reduced giving rise

to a finer discretization, and increase in the polynomial degree of equations

known as convergence-p [4].

Wang [5] focused his attention on studying the limitations of the CAE software for the simulation of an injection molding process. This investigator modeled a part with different meshes, to show that the results of air-trap depend on the elements employed. Also, Villarroel et al [6] studied the effect of the number of elements in the simulation of injection molded pieces. They found that when the number of elements increased, the time for obtaining simulation results also increased, but with a better convergence in the values obtained. Morales et al [7] studied some results of the CAE software for the simulation of an injection molding process where a convergence was obtained by means of increasing the number of elements. Such areas of interest are: wall shear stress, cycle and filling times.

Furthermore, Jawoski and Yuan [8] discussed the advantages and disadvanta-

ges of four different mesh types (1D, 2.5D, modified 2.5D, and 3D) in simulation

of the injection process through theoretical and experimental data. They compa-

red the reality of the simulation, the injection of a rack, with each type of mesh

to demonstrate how the acceptance of the different types of mesh can affect the

accuracy of the filling analysis results. Jawoski and Yan found that the simulati-

on results with 2.5-D meshes and 2.5-D modified meshes, particularly for this piece, are not precise in the tooth section, while simulations for filling pattern with elements 1-D and 3-D are precise.

This work has the purpose of studying the influence of the modification of the characteristics of a finite element mesh (elements number, distribution, and si- ze) and of the CAD/CAE tools for its generation, on the results of weight and linear shrinkage along the length and width of the piece, obtained by the simula- tion of the injection molding process. This analysis was done for two different materials, one amorphous and one semi-crystalline.

2

METHODOLOGY

A

homopolymer PP J600 from Propilven (MFI = 7.0 g/10 min at 230 ºC) and a

HIPS 4320 from Estirenos del Zulia (MFI = 8.5 g/10 min at 200 ºC) were used. Both materials are injection molding grades.

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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Such materials are Venezuelan national production, and they cannot be found in the data base of the simulator software. In order to overcome this limitation, a rheological characterization was executed, since the analysis requires accuracy on the data of materials properties, so the best predictions can be generated

[9].

Melt capillary flow properties for both materials were measured using a capillary rheometer, Rheograph Model 2000, at several crosshead speeds. Tests were done at 190ºC, 210ºC, and 230ºC for the PP and 170ºC, 190ºC, and 210ºC for the HIPS with a length/diameter ratio (L/D) of 30/1, 20/1, 10/1, and 5/1. After- wards, a plastometer was used in order to measure the Melt Flow Indexes of both materials, ASTM D3835 and D1238 procedures were followed.

Bagley and Rabinowitsch corrections were done. The Cross, exponential of hydraulic loss and William-Landel-Ferry, WLF, models were also employed to calculate the specific constants for both materials in order to include them in the simulator software. Then, simulation of the injection molding process of a nor- malized tensile test specimen type I was done. This was performed with 3-D solids modeler software. Figure 1 shows the mold employed. For simulation, processing conditions found to be optimal for the experimental injection process of the specimens were used. Moreover, results convergence of wall shear stress, cycle and filling times, were verified. Simulation time was recorded for all simulations, with the meshes of the modeling software as well as with the simu- lation software.

software as well as with the simu- lation software. Figure 1: Representation of a mold for

Figure 1:

Representation of a mold for injection of normalized tensile test specimen type I

Specimen mesh was done with nine different models, varying the elements number, using both programs with a midplane meshing (2 ½ mesh), and trian- gular elements. The filling, cooling, and solidification of the mold were simula- ted, and the convergence of the results of weight and lineal shrinkage along the length and width of the piece as a function of the element number of the mesh was studied.

The number of elements studied is presented in Table 1.

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Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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www.kunststofftech.com © 2007 Carl Hanser Verlag, München Table 1: Elements Number using fort he study Specimens

Table 1:

Elements Number using fort he study

Specimens were injection molded experimentally in search of the optimum pro- cessing conditions. An injection molding machine with a clamping force of 100 ton was used. Such specimens were weighed in a digital balance with an accu- racy of 0.01 g. Also, length and width of each specimen were measured by means of a digital Vernier with an accuracy of 0.01 mm, 1 h and 24 h after being injection molded, as suggested by ASTM D955 procedure.

3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Simulation software of an injection molding process include analysis of the filling stage, where accuracy on the data of materials properties is very important, sin- ce the reproduction of best predictions by the simulation depends on this fact [9]. Thus, a rheological characterization of the materials employed was execu- ted since they are not reported in the software data base.

Semi-crystalline polymers as well as amorphous polymers have complex ther- mo-rheological behaviors, which influence significantly the injection molding process. Thermoplastic materials exhibit non-Newtonian properties in the flow behavior, their melt viscosity decreases when shear rate or temperature increa- ses. Besides, injection molded pieces are generally thin-walled, so high injecti- on rates are needed in order to fill the mold, with the subsequent generation of high shear stresses, and dynamical changes in polymer properties while it flows

[10].

There exist various models employed by these software in order to describe the resin behavior under different processing variables. The Cross and WLF models permit the simulation of the filling and post-filling stages of the injection molded piece, since they incorporate the dependency of the viscosity with shear rate and with temperature. Another model employed is the exponential of hydraulic loss for the filling stage, which calculates the loss occurred when the melt pas- ses along a very small but long diameter, from the end of the channel to the

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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entrance of the cavity [9]. From these models, different rheological constants required by the software so simulation could take place, were calculated.

Afterwards, injection molding of normalized tensile specimens type I was done, thus obtaining the optimum processing conditions for each material under study. Injection molding temperature for PP was 210 ºC while for HIPS it was 190 ºC. Injection and packing/holding pressures were similar (800 psi). Cooling time used for PP specimens was 18 s and 33 s for HIPS specimens. Weight and li- neal shrinkage along the length and width of each specimen were measured 1 h and 24 h after being injection molded.

Simulation of the injection molding process followed, for both materials under the processing conditions mentioned above. Firstly, values of the specimen weight were compared. Figures 2 (left) and (right) show the convergence of the last four runs for this result.

show the convergence of the last four runs for this result. Figure 2: Weight convergence for
show the convergence of the last four runs for this result. Figure 2: Weight convergence for

Figure 2:

Weight convergence for (a) PP and (b) HIPS

left:

Polypropylene

right:

High Impact Polystyrene

When comparing theoretical results reported by the software with the experi- mental data, it can be noticed that they do not vary significantly for the speci- men weight, as seen in Table 2. The difference between both values is slightly higher for HIPS (3.44% between simulation and experimental values, and 3.476% between modeler and experimental values). While for the semicrystalli- ne polymer the difference is unnoticeable (0.0641% and 0.0595% in the mes- hes created by the simulator and modeler respectively).

   

Weight (g)

Material

Experimental

Simulator Software

Modeler Software

Polypropylene

21.840

± 0.026

21.854

21.853

High Impact

27.150

± 0.010

26.216

26.206

Polystyrene

Table 2:

Weight of the normalized tensile test specimen

Also, it can be observed that theoretical values obtained from the meshes of the modeller resemble more to the machine results, since this mesh better copies

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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the details of the specimen due to its capability for modifying size and position of the triangles employed. The user can locate more element density where a more exhaustive study is required. However, with the CAE meshes only the number of elements can be chosen and the software distributes them equally along the specimen.

Other result evaluated, related to the quality of the molded piece and its dimen- sional stability, was the shrinkage percentage. The linear shrinkage along the length of the specimen after demolding and 24 h afterwards was measured. An increasing tendency on contraction was observed when element number inc- reased, Figure 3 left and right. Convergence was found on the last four meshes, resulting values of 0.01482 mm for PP and 0.0038 for HIPS.

resulting values of 0.01482 mm for PP and 0.0038 for HIPS. Figure 3: Linear shrinkage along
resulting values of 0.01482 mm for PP and 0.0038 for HIPS. Figure 3: Linear shrinkage along

Figure 3:

Linear shrinkage along lenght convergence

left:

Polypropylene

right:

High Impact Polystyrene

When comparing the shrinkage values of PP and HIPS (Table 3), it was found that the smaller percentage corresponds to the amorphous material HIPS. This finding agrees with the values reported in the literature for this material (0.004 - 0.007 mm/mm) [10]. In this type of material, the chain mobility is not enough for forming crystals, thus contraction is not favored.

 

Linear shrinkage along the length (mm/mm)

Material

1 h

24 h

Polypropylene

0,014191

0,015822

High Impact Polystyrene

0,002433

0,004500

Table 3:

Linear shrinkage along lenght fort he normalized tensile test specimen

In addition, the tendency on shrinkage along the width of the specimen is pre- sented, obtaining the same behavior explained previously, Figure 4 left and right.

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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www.kunststofftech.com © 2007 Carl Hanser Verlag, München Figure 4: Linear shrinkage along width convergence fort he

Figure 4:

Linear shrinkage along width convergence fort he (a) PP and (b) HIPS

left:

Polypropylene

right:

High Impact Polystyrene

Concerning the simulation time, possible differences between the simulation with a mesh obtained from modeler software and a mesh obtained from simula- tor software, were studied. There were no clear differences in the run time (Fi- gure 5), probably due to the fact that the element size in both meshes was very similar. Figure 6 illustrates the more dense meshing of specimens created with each software. It can be seen that elements of similar size exist in the majority of the part. Moreover, the number of elements compared for both types of mes- hes was also similar (Table 1).

ed for both types of mes- hes was also similar (Table 1). Figure 5: Run Time
Figure 5: Run Time vs Elements Number left: right: Polypropylene High Impact Polystyrene Figure 6:
Figure 5:
Run Time vs Elements Number
left:
right:
Polypropylene
High Impact Polystyrene
Figure 6:
Density Mesh maked with

up:

Simulator Software

down:

Modeler Software

The results obtained for the correlation of simulation time with increasing ele- ment number agree with Villarroel's et al conclusion that run time increases with increasing number of mesh elements [6].

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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Other results from the simulation of the injection molding process were also ve- rified. Similar results compared to those presented by Morales et al were found [7]. By means of increasing the number of elements, the values of cycle time, filling time and wall shear stress increased until a convergence was obtained. This is evident for the amorphous and the semi-crystalline materials, and for meshes made with the modeler and the simulator software. The type of speci- men does not influence these results.

4 CONCLUSIONS

The semi-crystalline material presented convergence in the results faster than its amorphous peer.

When increasing the number of elements for the simulation, the results of weight and linear shrinkage along the length and width of the specimen are mo- dified, increasing until convergence is reached, so an optimum mesh could be chosen, combining results similar to reality and reducing simulation time.

The mesh of the modeler software exhibits a faster convergence than the simu- lator software, and its results are closer to experimental data.

The results from the simulation software using a mesh from the modeler pro- gram as well as a mesh from the simulation program about weight and shrinka- ge along the length and width of the specimen achieve a high accuracy compa- red to experimental data.

5 REFERENCES

[1]

Chang, R.,

Yang, W.,

Liu, L.,

Yanh, V.,

Hsu, D.

[2]

Cook, R.

[3]

Bathe, K.

[4]

Reddy, J.

Three-Dimensional Computer-Aided Mold Cooling Design For Injection Molding SPE´s ANTEC Proceedings, 2003, 656

Finite Elements Modeling for Stress Analysis John Wiley & Sons Inc., USA, 1995 Finite Element Procedures Prentice Hall, USA, 1996 An Introduction to the Finite Element Method McGraw Hill, USA, 1993

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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© 2007 Carl Hanser Verlag, München

[5]

Wang, T.

Numerical Simulation and Process Window design of Injection/Compression Molding SPE´s ANTEC Proceedings, 1999, 658

[6]

Villarroel, S.,

Effect of the Mesh Number Elements in the

Morales, R.,

Simulation Results of Normalized Test

Sanchez, A.

Specimens Injection Molded SPE´s ANTEC Proceedings, 2002, w/p

[7]

Morales, R.,

Effect of the finite element meshing for

Candal, M.,

designing plastic pieces

González, O.

Polymer Plastics Technology and

 

Engineering

44 (8-9), 1573 (2005)

[8]

Jaworski, M.,

Theoretical And Experimental Comparison

Yuan, Z.

Of The Four Major Types Of Mesh Currently Used In CAE Injection Molding Simulation Software SPE´s ANTEC Proceedings, 2003, w/p

[9]

C-MOLD

C-MOLD Reference Manual Advanced CAE Technology Inc., USA, 1998

[10]

Mark, H., Bikales, N., Overberger, C., Menges G. (eds)

Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engi- neering” John Wiley & Sons, Vol. 16, USA, 1990

Keywords:

injection

molding,

mesh,

computer

aided

design,

engineer

aided

design,

software

Kontakt:

Autoren:

Herausgeber:

Erscheinungsdatum:

Prof. Maria Victoria Candal, Rosa Amalia Morales, Kathleen Gorrin

Prof. em. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Gottfried W. Ehrenstein, Prof. Dr. Tim Osswald

Mai/Juni 2007

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M.V. Candal et. al.

Influence of Mesh Density on Injection Molding Simulation Results

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Herausgeber/Editor:

Europa/Europe Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. G. W. Ehrenstein, verantwortlich Lehrstuhl für Kunststofftechnik Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg Am Weichselgarten 9

91058 Erlangen

Deutschland

Amerika/The Americas Prof. Dr. Tim A. Osswald, responsible Polymer Engineering Center, Director University of Wisconsin-Madison 1513 University Avenue Madison, WI 53706 USA

Phone:

+49/(0)9131/85 - 29703

Phone:

+1/608 263 9538

Fax.:

+49/(0)9131/85 - 29709

Fax.:

+1/608 265 2316

E-Mail-Adresse: ehrenstein@lkt.uni-erlangen.de

Verlag/Publisher:

Carl-Hanser-Verlag

Jürgen Harth

Ltg. Online-Services & E-Commerce, Fachbuchanzeigen und Elektronische Lizenzen Kolbergerstrasse 22

81679 Muenchen

Tel.: 089/99 830 - 300 Fax: 089/99 830 - 156 E-mail: harth@hanser.de

E-Mail-Adresse: osswald@engr.wisc.edu

Beirat/Editorial Board:

Professoren des Wissenschaftlichen Arbeitskreises Kunststofftechnik/ Professors of the Scientific Alliance of Polymer Technology

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