The extrusion process is used to plastic sheet, film, fiber, or profiles. It begins with the polymer being melted and pumped by an extruder. Then, the material is formed into the correct shape by a die. Finally, it is stretched, cooled, and cut to length by process-specific equipment. Examples of extruded products include window profiles, catheters, tubing, and pipe. Coextrusion is the process of extruding two or more polymer melts at the same time.
The Department of Plastics Engineering has equipment to extrude
- Flat film and sheet
- Blown film
- Tubing and pipe
- Filament of FDM additive manufacturing
Future capabilities include fluoropolymer sheet, high temperature blown film, and coextrusion of film.
In addition, the Department of Plastics Engineering can extrude thermoset rubber film and fibers. For more information, see Elastomers Lab.
Extrusion also is used for mixing or compounding polymer systems. For more information on these capabilities, see Compounding.