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Journal of Plastics Technology 2007/03

Thermoforming Cones

This new analysis for thermoforming cones focuses on the manufacturing process speed. Specifically, we’ve distinguished between what happens before and after (free versus constrained forming) the melt touches the conical mold. We derive analytical solutions for the time required for both cases, and sum them to get the total forming time. We restrict our analysis to the fabrication of cones, the simplest relevant problem in commercial thermoforming. We further confine our analysis to the Newtonian case, adimensionalizing our results at every step. For free forming, one dimensionless group arises, the geometric shape factor ( &#945;<sub>0</sub>), and for constrained, two such factors arise ( &#945; and sec &#946;). We also calculate the stresses in the deforming melt, since these govern the residual stresses in the thermoformed part. We then derive an expression for wall uniformity; we find that it just depends on the mold geometry. Finally, we attack the problem of plug assist, deriving an expression for the improvement in wall uniformity achieved through plug assist. Our analytical solutions provide benchmarks for numerical analysts to test their code accuracy. Four worked examples illustrate how to reduce the results to engineering practice.

Melissa A. Kershner | Prof. A. Jeffrey Giacomin
Mechanical Engineering Department, Polymer Engineering Center and Rheology

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Thermoforming Cones

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The Journal

The Journal of Plastics Technology is a peer reviewed internet periodical published under the auspices of the Scientific Alliance of Polymer Technology (WAK)


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International Polymer Processing

International Polymer Processing, the journal of the Polymer Processing Society, is a discussion forum for the world-wide community of engineers and scientists in the field of polymer processing.

The journal covers research and industrial application in the very specific areas of designing polymer products, processes, processing machinery and equipment.


International Polymer Processing


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The Journal of Plastics Technology is indexed in SCOPUS, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.