Enabling polymer use in industry: Improving confidence in polymer properties
Components containing viscous materials, such as rubbers and plastic polymers (polymeric components) are increasingly used to make lighter, higher-performance and lower-cost products. Viscous materials deform under pressure and can change shape over time, changing the performance of the products they are used in. Therefore, manufacturers need to be able to measure changes in the shape and properties of polymeric components over time to better predict their performance and useful lifetime. To do so, techniques to measure the long-term deformation of viscous materials are required.
This project addressed this need by developing equipment and methods to accurately measure changes in the dimensions and properties of viscous materials, including:
- An optical interferometer measurement system. The system is accurate and highly-stable through time, and can distinguish genuine long-term changes in viscous materials from pseudo-changes caused by measurement instrumentation drift.
- Methods to measure changes in shape, viscosity and elasticity of viscous materials over time using the new optical interferometer system.
- More sophisticated and comprehensive analysis methods. New models and algorithms were developed to analyse and process measurement data, ensuring results can be compared with measurement standards and with results from other existing measurement techniques.
The new measurement system and methods are being used by European industry to measure the properties of viscous materials in products. A manufacturer of water management systems is using methods developed in the project to develop more durable, longer-lasting water storage chambers. A surface mechanics consultancy has used the project results to enhance its range of software products, including new algorithms and models to study the surface properties of a wide range of materials. Two instrument manufacturers have used results to improve their measurement products.
Coordinator: Nigel Jennet, NPL (UK)
For more information, please contact the EURAMET Management Support Unit:
Phone: +44 20 8943 6666
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