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Bachelor of Science
Engineering, Polymers, Polymeric materials, Design, Manufacturing, Materials science, Extruders, Mixers, Polymer mixing, Composites, Mixing machinery-Design and construction, Polymers-Mixing, Polymeric composites
Industrial mixing technologies such as extruders, compounders, and other mixers are used for mixing polymers and creating polymer composites. These technologies are large, bulky, and often inaccessible to individuals and small institutions. There is a need for a more accessible polymer mixing device for small-scale use. A benchtop polymer mixer (called the Micromixer) was designed and developed with the intention of being smaller and less costly than industrial polymer mixing machines. The components of the Micromixer were designed, refined, and assembled to create a functional polymer mixing system. Once assembled, the Micromixer was tested using a polymeric material called EcoFlex™ and various liquid and particulate fillers. These tests proved that the Micromixer can create a homogeneous, well-dispersed composite using polymeric materials and dry particulate fillers. The Micromixer consists of a mixing mechanism made from an auger and a cordless drill, a barrel, fiberglass heating tape, a 3D printed funnel, and a stand that brings the whole system together. To operate the device, the user must input the ingredients to be mixed into the funnel. The user then turns on the drill at a medium speed until the finished composite sample exits the end of the barrel. Samples might be collected in a cup, beaker, petri dish, or any other container that is convenient for the user. There are several further design refinements that might be made before the Micromixer could be considered marketable. There are aspects of the device that might be optimized, such as the funnel and barrel designs. In addition, there are components that might enhance the performance of the Micromixer, such as a nozzle that might control material outflow from the device. There are also some additional experiments that could be performed to better understand the capabilities of the Micromixer. Once these further refinements and verifications are complete, the Micromixer might be utilized for dyeing EcoFlex™ using powdered pigments or creating other polymer matrix composites (PMCs).
2018 Emily Matz. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use
Matz, Emily, "Micromixer : a benchtop polymer mixer" (2018). Honors Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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