In a joint project called "Schaum MRS Reaktor", the partners Gneuss, A. Schulman, Fraunhofer UMSICHT, IKV, Inde Plastik and Trocellen are developing a reactor for the decoupled reactive modification of plastics by the foam extrusion process. The reactor is based on a multi-screw extruder, which, through the large reaction surface and a defined residence time, allows the controlled reactive modification of e.g. PET chain extension or PE cross-linking (PE-X), decoupled from the rest of the process. Both PET and PE-X foaming processes are subject to restrictions (limited mass throughput, multi-stage processes) that prevent the development from niche to mass products.
After determining the requirements for the melt modification additives (Fraunhofer UMSICHT; A.Schulman), a lab scale reactor is developed and produced (Gneuss, IKV). The focus of the research at IKV is the determination of suitable process parameters to control the chemical reaction in the reactor and to examine the influence of the modification on the foaming process and the properties of the foam products. The aim is to develop a technology that allows efficient production of tailor-made foam products by integrating the material modification into the production process and thus substituting multi-stage process chains.
Using the expertise and experiences obtained from the lab scale reactor, Inde Plastik und Trocellen use the technology in industrial scale processes and downstream treatments such as thermoforming.