New simulation software for foam profile extrusion models gas-bubble size and distribution using sophisticated math models known as "population balance," which estimate how bubbles form, grow, merge, and collapse, much the way the age distribution of people can be predicted in a population. Distribution modeling is a major initiative at Fluent Inc., Lebanon, N.H., and further improvements will be released this fall in version 6.3 of Fluent's general-purpose fluid-flow simulation software. A processor inputs rheology, melt and die temperatures, die geometry, and the mechanisms for nucleation and bubble growth. Fluent's more specialized Polyflow extrusion simulation (see photo) also models foam extrusion but does so without population-balance modeling.
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