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Development of the Rapid Thermal Response Injection Molding Process

Abstract -- The objective of the proposed research is to develop rapid thermal response heating and cooling systems to facilitate rapid change in the surface temperature of the mold and thereby improving quality of the molded parts without appreciable increase in the total cycle time.  The quality of molded part greatly depends on thermo-mechanical history of the molding process.  One must uncouple the cooling process during the filling process in order to control the thermo-mechanical history to our advantage.  Because of this inherent coupling we have difficulty in molding a long and thin part, an optical part without molecular orientation, a glossy surface finish, etc.  A rapid change in the surface temperature of the mold not only accomplishes this uncoupling during the filling stage but also provides a means to change the heat transfer rate during the cooling stage thereby controlling the morphology/property of molded parts. With extremely rapid heating and cooling systems embed at the mold surface, any designated mold surface temperature can be prescribed. The mold surface temperature response of the RTR mold we developed in this project is very exciting: heating from 25 C to 250 C in 2 second and cooling to 50 C in 8 seconds. Impact of this technology can be far reaching since there are many application areas where a fast heating and/or cooling response surface can be beneficial to the processing of materials.