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Mixing Highly Viscous Materials

Posted June 26, 2019

This Challenge is looking for equipment and methods to mix materials of high viscosity over a large viscosity range.

Image credit: Kelly Cookson/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0


Accurate and complete mixing of highly viscous dense paste materials, solids-content greater than 60 volume percent, with unladen polymers is a difficult task. This mixing is complicated by process-sensitive soft-body media that easily cleaves and deforms under moderate applied stresses. The Seeker is looking for innovative ideas, and prototypes, of equipment that can meet their Solution Requirements.

This Challenge will take place in Phases.

Phase I (45 days) – this will be a “Theoretical” Phase where Solvers will be expected to deliver a white paper outlining their proposed method and equipment design with will meet the Solution Requirements. Solvers will be expected to provide evidence (literature data, previous data, etc.) and written arguments to convince the Seeker that the Solver’s proposed solution is accurate, feasible, and producible. Experiments are not required for Phase I, but could be included.

Phase II (210 days total, 30 days Presentation, 180 days Demonstration)

Phase II Presentation – Upon notification of selection for participation in this phase, the Seeker will deliver to the selected Solvers (from Phase I) an anticipated and/or common use case scenario and outline any additional details that weren’t included in Phase I. The Solvers will then have thirty (30) days to modify their proposed design and deliver an updated presentation not to exceed thirty (30) minutes concerning how their solution addresses the use case scenario and any additional Seeker Requirements. This presentation does not have to include demonstration of a prototype, but Solvers should include any initial work that has been done and address how completion of a demonstrable prototype will be achievable in the Demonstration period of Phase II.

Phase II Demonstration – Solvers will be expected construct a working prototype based on the designs they presented in the Phase I and Phase II Presentation segments. The Solvers’ prototypes will be required to meet the Solution Requirements and be able to demonstrate successful mixing and extrusion using equivalent materials and under relevant conditions. Every Solution Requirement will NOT need to be met perfectly; however, enough to demonstrate feasibility of being developed into continuous production process. Any Solution Requirement not met will need to be addressed on how it will be achievable in the final prototype. Solution Requirements will be used as part of a grading rubric that will be used to select a winner of the Phase II Demonstration.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on August 8, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered.

Source: InnoCentive

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