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Improving qualities of household appliances
A copolymerization model to help improve material durability
The quality of household appliances may soon be greatly improving thanks to researchers from the Polymer Institute in Brno. They have created a copolymerization model that will greatly improve the quality and mechanical properties of copolymer materials which are used in the production of frozen food packaging, parts for washing machines, refrigerators, kettles, and in the automotive industry.
"It is a computing program that, based on the experiments performed, offers optimum conditions for the synthesis of materials with improved mechanical properties," says Jan Grůza of the polypropylene department of the Polymer Institute in Brno, who has worked on the project.
The advantage of the model is that a series of experiments do not have to be carried out directly in operation, but instead they are computer-simulated. This saves the manufacturer’s time and material costs.
How was the model created?
The researchers carried out thirty experiments, then entered the results in a computer database and examined how the changes in the variables affected the properties of the material, namely rigidity and toughness. Thanks to this they can optimize the preparation of the material to keep an ideal combination of these properties and keep the material resistant as required.
"The main reason why we develop these models is to improve the properties of materials by slightly modifying the production conditions. This change costs nothing and results in a material that has, for example, a 15-20% higher toughness with unchanged rigidity. This means it is less prone to cracking at a reduced temperature, namely at minus 20°C,” says Jan Grůza.
Wide use of copolymer materials
The goal was to create a material as resilient as possible, which has a better use on the market. Copolymers are used to manufacture piping parts, automotive parts, parts of washing machines, refrigerators, coffee machines, kettles, and frozen-food containers.
Research on changes in copolymer properties has been performed by researchers over the past four years as part of a project supported by the state. The application of the Unipetrol model took approximately six months to develop.
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