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Fluid mechanics of polymer melt filtration

Academic lead
Mark Wilson (Mechanical Engineering)
Industrial lead
Dmytro Stratiychuk-Dear and Kieran Looney, Dupont Teijin Films
Nik Kapur (Mechanical Engineering), Peter Jimack (Computing)
Project themes
Industrial Processes, Underpinning Methods for Fluid Dynamics

Sequentially stretched film casting is an essential industrial process for the manufacture of thin polymer films used for a wide range of packaging, imaging, electronic, photovoltaic and other industrial applications. In order to maintain the integrity of the manufactured film while maximising recycle content, it is critical that the polymer melt is filtered of all impurities, but filters fill up through collection of the contaminants and need frequent and costly replacement, necessitating significant downtime to the production process.  This project will develop novel computational tools for the analysis of two commonly used filter designs in order to gain a better understanding of the degradation of the filters over time and how to enhance their performance, efficiency and longevity. In addition to predicting the complex three-dimensional dynamics of these heated highly viscous, high-pressure flows, the project will require the development of models for the evolution of the filter properties over time which may require some small-scale laboratory work and/or industrial pilot line studies.

This project is an opportunity to work with a leading manufacturing company, with a long history of supporting interesting and challenging fluid dynamics PhD projects at Leeds.  The fundamental understanding gained through this PhD is not only applicable to DTF's manufacturing process but the wider plastics & filtration industries.