The Effect of Materials, Process Settings and Screw Geometry on Energy Consumption and Melt Temperature in Single Screw Extrusion

Chamil Abeykoon, A. L. Kelly, E. C. Brown, P. D. Coates

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    Polymer extrusion is an energy intensive production process and
    process energy efficiency has become a key concern in the current
    industry with the pressure of reducing the global carbon
    footprint. Here, knowledge of the pattern of energy usage and
    losses of each component in the plant is highly useful in the
    process energy optimization. Moreover, it is essential to maintain
    the melt quality while improving the energy efficiency in polymer
    processing. In this work, an investigation was made on the total
    energy consumption, drive motor energy consumption, power factor
    and the melt temperature profile across the die melt flow (as an
    indication of the melt thermal quality) of an industrial scale
    extruder with three different screw geometries, three polymer
    types and wide range of processing conditions (altogether 135
    different processing situations were observed). This aims to widen
    the knowledge on process energy and thermal behaviors while
    exploring possible correlation/s between energy demand and melt
    quality (in terms of melt temperature fluctuations across the melt
    flow). The results showed that the level and fluctuations of the
    extruder's power factor is particularly dependent upon the
    material being processed. Moreover, it seems that there is a
    relation between the level of energy demand of the heaters and the
    level of melt temperature fluctuations. While the extruder
    specific energy consumption decreases with increasing screw speed,
    specific energy consumption of the drive motor may have either
    increasing or decreasing behavior. Overall, this study provides
    new insights in a wide range on process energy demand and melt
    thermal quality in polymer extrusion. Moreover, further research
    is recommended to establish strong correlation/s between process
    energy consumption and melt thermal quality which should help to
    enhance process control and hence the product quality in single
    screw polymer extrusion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)880-894
    Number of pages15
    JournalApplied Energy
    Early online date23 Aug 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


    • Polymer extrusion
    • Process monitoring
    • Energy consumption
    • Power factor
    • Energy efficiency
    • Melt temperature fluctuations


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