Statically Equivalent Serial Chains

The DIMLab team is working to incorporate its shape-changing research into the field of die design. Polymer extrusion is the manufacturing process of utilizing pressure to force melted plastic through a die in order to form a long part of uniform cross section. The shape of the die defines the extruded product’s cross section. Extrusion is used to create a variety of products including tubes, pipes, gutters and molding. This process has always been achieved using solid, non-deformable dies. Shape-changing dies allow the cross section of the extrusion to change while being forced through the die. This technology offers three advances. First, new and innovative products can be developed. Second, this technology introduces the capacity to manufacture parts previously obtainable through slower and more costly techniques like molding. Third, this technology reduces waste in extrusion processes by allowing the implementation of tunable dies. Some of the design challenges facing the research team include addressing the high pressures and temperatures present in extrusion die systems, minimizing material leakage in the die assembly, and creating the methodology and practice for designing dies that create the desired shape changes in the extrusion.