A Practical Approach for Data Gathering for Polymer Cure Simulations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonApplied Sciences. 2018, 8 1-31. 10.3390/app8112227
Producing precision parts requires good control of the production parameters. When casting thermoset polymers an understanding of the curing process, with its heat release and associated temperature changes, is important. This paper describes how the cure of a polymer of unknown detailed chemical composition in a large part can be predicted and how the necessary material properties required for the predictions can be obtained. The approach given is a relatively simple method that a part manufacturer can perform. It will not characterize chemical reactions in detail, but it gives sufficient accuracy to describe the process. The procedures will be explained for an example of casting a large block of a filled two-component thermoset polyurethane. The prediction of the degree of cure, the associated heat and temperature increase during the curing of a polymer was successfully done using a standard finite element program with the input parameters reaction energy, the Arrhenius pre-factor and the kinetic function, which describes the chemical reaction. The three parameters could be obtained with standard Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) equipment. The data were analyzed with the model-free isoconversional method combined with the compensation effect. The same set of parameters allowed the prediction of experimental cure behavior over two orders of magnitude of time and at a curing temperature range from room temperature up to 420 K.