R. P. G. Rutgers, N. Clemeur, J. Husny
June 5, 2013
The characteristics of sharkskin surface instability for linear low density polyethylene are studied as a function of film blowing processing conditions. By means of scanning electron microscopy and surface profilometry, is it found that for the standard industrial die geometry studied, sharkskin only occurs on the inside of the film bubble. Previous work suggests that this instability may be due to critical extensional stress levels at the exit of the die. Isothermal integral viscoelastic simulations of the annular extrusion process are reported, and confirm that the extensional stress at the die exit is large enough to cause local melt rupture. However, the extensional stress level at the outer die wall predicts melt rupture of the outside bubble surface also, which contradicts the experimental findings. A significant temperature gradient is expected to exist across the die gap at the exit of the die, due to the external heating of the die and the low conductivity of the polymer melt. It is shown that a gradient of 20°C is required to cause sharkskin to only appear on the inner bubble surface.