The parameters influencing the calibration/cooling stage of profile extrusion are discussed, and a numerical finite-volume method code to model the heat transfer is described and validated. For this purpose, the numerical predictions are compared with the analytical solution of a simple problem, with results available in the literature and with those produced by a commercial software. The routines developed are then used to identify the main process parameters and boundary conditions and to estimate their relative importance. The investigation clearly shows the advantages of using several calibrators separated by annealing zones, relative to a single calibrator of the same total length, and the large impact of the contact resistance between extrudate and cooling unit while showing negligible impact of other boundary conditions. A decrease of the extrudate velocity is seen to be also an effective control parameter, but it decreases the production rates. (C) 2004 Society of Plastics Engineers.
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