Rheology of Polymers

Rheology is the study of the flow of matter, whether that is a liquid or a so-called ‘soft solid’. Polymers are one example of soft solids and are used extensively in manufacturing because they are inexpensive in comparison with other materials and can be formed into complex shapes while in a molten state. Rheology of polymers testing studies the flow of samples such as materials, gels and pastes, in order to predict and suggest improvements to processing methods and products themselves. Polymer rheology testing analyses, for instance, how polymers perform at various temperatures and when utilised in certain processes, such as extrusion, blow moulding and injection moulding. Such tests can be carried out to diagnose existing problems in the processing phase; to ensure the polymer’s properties are appropriate for its end use; or to test for product quality. The resulting data can assist in optimising production, reducing costs in terms of waste or increasing production rates. It can also give quality control assurances. Many industries use polymers and can therefore benefit from rheology of polymers testing. The list includes industrial production, the medical device industry, and the construction, automotive and aerospace industries.

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