Making Industrial Processes More Cost Efficient
Readers of this magazine have read about nonlinear modelling [1-3] so the basics are not repeated here. Nonlinear modelling helps speed up materials and process development in several industrial sectors, and is particularly useful for plastics and rubbers, since their behaviour tends to be relatively complicated. Here we have a glaring example.
Automobile tyres are made of several rubber recipes. Tyres for different purposes and different road conditions and climates need different properties. Different parts of the tyres require different material properties, and they are achieved by compounding rubbers in different proportions, besides using a number of additives in different amounts. Several material properties are of interest to tyre manufacturers. The rubber mix before vulcanisation needs to have viscosity within certain limits. After vulcanisation, hardness, tensile modulus, tensile strength, tear strength, elongation at break, dynamic mechanical properties, wear resistance, etc. are of interest. To achieve a desired combination of several of these properties is no easy task. Trial and error experiments are often carried out in large numbers for developing rubber recipes which lead to a desired combination of several of these properties.