Customer Spotlight

By Jennifer Schillings, Arno Wilbers and Joachim Loos, DSM Materials Science Center, Geleen, The Netherlands,

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. Within DSM’s Materials Cluster
 DSM Engineering Plastics is a global player in specialty plastics. These materials are used in components for the electrical and electronics, automotive, flexible food packaging and consumer goods industries.

A typical product made of DSM Engineering Plastics’ polymer portfolio are USB-C connectors. Key performance indicators for this application are dimensional and temperature stability together with excellent mechanical properties, which is achieved by compounding the polymer with glass fibers. At the end, the performance of the connector depends on fiber loading, length and orientation.

Royal DSM uses Avizo Software

Glass fiber reinforced engineering plastics

These fiber properties can be assessed using an X-ray scan at high resolution (µm scale). The results shown here are obtained using a Bruker Skyscan 1272 set at a resolution of 2 µm per pixel. An oversized and offset scan have been applied to capture the whole USB connector at the desired resolution. Reconstruction is done using standard software supplied by Bruker Skyscan, whereas the visualization and analysis of the fiber properties is done in Avizo Software and the XFiber add-on.

Glass fiber reingorced engineering plastics
Volume rendering showing only the fibers within the volume reconstruction and detailed view showing individual fibers.

Using the Avizo Software XFiber extension, length, curvature, and orientation of each fiber can be determined. Fiber length distributions are directly coupled to mechanical properties and obtaining these distributions validates the structural models and can help in identifying irregularities concerning flow and distribution. The graphs show the type of information extracted from the length and orientation data. The below image shows number based and length weighted kernel distributions (blue) and bi-modal log-normal fitted distributions. The orientation data can be averaged down to a relevant number of voxels (corresponding to the finite-element voxel size) along various planes or supplied as separate voxel data.

XFiber extension
XFiber extension
A typical example of a length distribution and averaged tensor values: these values do not relate to the current sample but similar graphs are obtained. The length distribution is determined using a dedicated Matlab GUI and the tensor graph is created in Excel.

For a specified grid, the orientation tensor can be inferred as is shown graphically in the following images. The first image shows the orientation tensor for the whole volume and the second image shows the orientation tensor for a specific vertical slice.

At DSM, these results from the fiber property analysis are used to validate modelling techniques and supporting product and application development optimizing composition and processing conditions.

Visual representation of the orientation tensor for the whole reconstructed volume
Visual representation of the orientation tensor for the whole reconstructed volume. Fiber length and orientation are assessed using Avizo XFiber module. The detailed view shows the tensor values within the transparent volume rendering.

Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in life sciences and materials sciences DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress, and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders simultaneously. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect, and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 25,000 employees.

About Amira-Avizo Software

Amira and Avizo are high-performance 3D software for visualizing, analyzing, and understanding scientific and industrial data coming from all types of sources and modalities.

Images and text are courtesy of Royal DSM