The second part of a comprehensive study into the investigation and validation of in-process measurements on a low density polyethylene compound during extrusion is reported. A commercial grade of branched low density polyethylene was used in the study, compounded with various levels of magnesium hydroxide ame retardant filler, up to 0 by weight. In-line and on-line rheometry were used to monitor melt ow behaviour during single screw and twin screw extrusion; off-line capillary rheometry was performed on the compound before and after extrusion, to examine any change in rheology. Morphological observations were made using scanning electron microscopy, and molecular characterisations carried out using gel permeation chromatography. In-process rheometry was found to be able to detect the presence of filler at low and high loadings, but was unable to discriminate between intermediate levels. Off-line rheometry indicated that twin screw extrusion altered the rheology of the compound, and capillary wall slip was found to increase after extrusion. Morphological observation indicated that filler in the compound was better dispersed after extrusion, especially at high volume fractions. Molecular weight and polydispersity of the LDPE were shown to increase after extrusion, more so in the case of low filler loadings. Overall, in-process measurements provided useful rheological data, and the compound was found to exhibit complex, process-dependent rheology.
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