The strategic purposes of RELMA are to improve product quality and to reduce manufacturing time and costs during the compounding and mixing of polymers like rubber.
The achievements of the research so far are:
construction of experimental set ups for the elemental analysis of rubber;
identification and assignment of all observed spectral features;
measurement of calibration curves for variety of interesting elements;
development of software for data evaluation and measurement control;
specification of material properties to be measured via element distributions.
This will be achieved by application of a new technique called laser-induced emission spectral analysis (LIESA) recently developed by Krupp for direct liquid steel elemental analysis in a steel plant.
For industrial rubber mixing processes, for example, it is highly desirable to evaluate on-line the dispersion of the different ingredients in the polymer matrix (i.e. compound homogeneity). Therefore the main objective of the project is the development of a laboratory system capable of in-process monitoring of the homogeneity of rubber slabs in the open mill and other locations in the early stage of a tyre production line.
By scanning the focused beam of pulsed laser across the surface of rubber slabs in a rubbers mixing line, spatial element distributions will be measured and evaluated on-line. The optical emission of the plasmas which are created at the focal spot (spot size up to 10mm2) of the laser beam during scanning, is detected for spectral microanalysis of the polymeric material.
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