Simulation technology can predict viscoelasticity

Toray Industries and University of Chicago have developed simulation technology which they say can accurately predict viscoelasticity from the chemical structures of polymers.

According to the company, polymer viscoelasticity is vital to precisely control size and performance in molding processes with raw materials, such as when manufacturing fibers and films. However, the viscoelasticity of polymers fluctuates greatly with the use of waste materials. This requires frequent adjustments to molding processes, causing yields to fall.

The new computational technique makes it possible to predict viscoelasticity ay the research stage. In tests with polystyrene and nylon 6, Toray reportedly had a “good reproduction of viscoelastic data”.

The company now plans to use it to speed up its polymer recycling R&D. It may also be possible to improve molding processes based on viscoelasticity for the types, amounts, and conditions of waste materials, thus enhancing yield rates.