Enhancing Mixing and Thermal Management of Recycled Carbon Composite Systems by Torsion-Induced Phase-to-Phase Thermal and Molecular Mobility

Polymers (Basel). 2020 Apr 1;12(4):771. doi: 10.3390/polym12040771.


A novel torsion screw has been proposed to resolve the inadequate control of mass transfer and the thermal management of two component polymer blends and their carbon fiber composites. The novel torsional screw distinctly introduced radial flow in the torsion screw channel, which is a significant improvement over the flow pattern developed by the conventional screw. The heat transfer and mixing behavior of melt mixtures are enhanced by adapting screws with torsion elements compared with the traditional screw elements. Heat transfer efficacy in the polypropylene-polystyrene bi-phasic extrusion process improved with the increase in torsion element numbers. An increased number of newly designed torsional elements also improved the dispersion of minor phase in bi-phase polypropylene-polystyrene composition and their carbon fiber composites. The unique flow pattern induced by the torsion elements shows a synergistic effect on the melt-phase mass flow and the thermal flow field facilitating phase-to-phase thermal and molecular mobility and enhanced fiber orientation, crystallinity and mechanical properties of composite made from recycled carbon fiber/polypropylene. Microtomographs of recycled carbon fiber demonstrated the extraordinary ability of a torsion screw element to orient carbon fiber in both axial and radial directions.

Keywords: field synergy; heat and mass transfer; mixing and thermal management; recycled carbon composites; torsional flow.