Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) is widely used in biomedical applications, e.g. as a bearing surface in total joint arthroplasty. Recently, equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) was proposed as a processing method to achieve higher molecular entanglement and superior mechanical properties of this material. Numerical modeling can be utilized to evaluate the influence of such important manufacturing parameters as the extrusion rate, temperature, geometry of the die, back pressure and friction effects in the ECAE of polyethylenes.

In this paper we focus on the development of efficient FE models of ECAE for UHMWPE. We study the applicability of the available constitutive models traditionally used in polymer mechanics for UHMWPE, evaluate the importance of the proper choice of the friction parameters between the billet and the die, and compare the accuracy of predictions between 2D (plane strain) and 3D models.

Our studies demonstrate that the choice of the constitutive model is extremely important for the accuracy of numerical modeling predictions. It is also shown that the friction coefficient significantly influences the punch force and that 2D plane strain assumption can become inaccurate in the presence of friction between the billet and the extrusion channel.

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