Plant tests and finite element (FE) analyses of the injection stretch-blow moulding (ISBM) process of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles have been carried out in this study with a view to optimizing preform designs and process conditions. Plant tests were carefully conducted at first to make bottles in a 330 ml mould from four preform designs under different process conditions. Both a digital handheld thermometer and a FLIR ThermoCAM Imager system were used to measure the initial preform temperature distributions (IPTDs). Comprehensive FE analyses using ABAQUS were then carried out to model the ISBM of these bottles, using a physically based model (Buckley model) to model the complex constitutive behaviour of PET. It was found that the numerical simulations often resulted in free blowing or over-thinning of the bottle bottoms when the measured IPTDs and process conditions were modelled. Parametric studies of the IPTDs, the pre-blowing pressure and the material parameters of the Buckley model were carried out. It was demonstrated that all of them had considerable effects on the effectiveness of FE modelling. In particular, the stress-strain relations modelled by the Buckley model were very sensitive to two parameters used to model the strain-stiffening behaviour. By carefully adjusting the material parameters and process conditions, successful simulations with excellent bottle thickness predictions were then achieved. It is concluded that the model parameters must be obtained by accurately testing the bottle-grade PET with similar process conditions to those in industrial ISBM so that the Buckley model can be confidently used to model the ISBM process. It is also found that good predictions of bottle wall thickness alone do not necessarily justify the numerical modelling. Validation of the deformation process may be equally important.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||IMechE Journal of Process Mechanical Engineering-Part E|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2004|