Injection stretch blow moulding is a well-established method of forming thin-walled containers and has been extensively researched for numerous years. This paper is concerned with validating the finite element analysis of the free-stretch-blow process in an effort to progress the development of injection stretch blow moulding of poly(ethylene terephthalate). Extensive data was obtained experimentally over a wide process window accounting for material temperature and air flow rate, while capturing cavity pressure, stretch-rod reaction force and preform surface strain. This data was then used to assess the accuracy of the correlating FE simulation constructed using ABAQUS/Explicit solver and an appropriate viscoelastic material subroutine. Results reveal that the simulation is able to give good quantitative correlation for conditions where the deformation was predominantly equal biaxial whilst qualitative correlation was achievable when the mode of deformation was predominantly sequential biaxial. Overall the simulation was able to pick up the general trends of how the pressure, reaction force, strain rate and strain vary with the variation in preform temperature and air flow rate. The knowledge gained from these analyses provides insight into the mechanisms of bottle formation, subsequently improving the blow moulding simulation and allowing for reduction in future development costs.
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