Injection molding of beverage container caps made of a composite consisting of wood cellulose fiber and an ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer
Journal article, 2014
The influence of processing parameters on injection-molded bottle caps consisting of 20 wt% of cellulose fibers and an ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer was studied. The study included three cylinder barrel temperatures and three mold temperatures. For each combination of temperatures, the holding pressure time was varied and the mold sealing time was determined. High density polyethylene caps were also produced as reference material, and injection-molded tensile test bars were also produced in order to assess the tensile mechanical properties. The results showed no major differences in sealing time for the caps containing cellulose fibers, except for the highest melt and mold temperatures where a slightly longer time was observed. The viscosity of the composite material was higher than that of the polymeric matrix. For the highest temperature and high shear rates, the viscosity of the composite material was close to the viscosity of the matrix material. The moisture content of the injection-molded bars was less than 1%, showing that almost no water was absorbed during the compounding or after several months. The crystallinity decreased when the fibers were included but was not influenced by the mold temperature. Enhanced mechanical properties were obtained by using the fibers compared to the pure ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer, both in the tensile test bars and in the caps. The reference high density polyethylene had, however, a higher mechanical performance than the composite.