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Plastics Molds

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Plastics Molds --- Aheadmold

Chapter 2

Plastics Molds


The processing of plastics involves the transformation of a solid (sometimes liquid) polymeric resin, which is in a random form (e.g. powder, pellets, beads), to a solid plastics product of specified shape, dimensions, and properties. This is achieved by means of a transformation process, extrusion, molding, calendering, coating, thermoforming, etc. The process, in order to achieve the above objective, usually involves the following operations: solid transport, compression, heating, melting, mixing, shaping, cooling, solidification, and finishing. Obviously, these operations do not necessarily occur in sequence, and many of them take place simultaneously.
Shaping is required in order to impart to the material the desired geometry and dimensions. It involves combinations of viscoelastic deformations and heat transfer, which are generally associated with solidification of the product from the melt.
Shaping includes: (1) two-dimensional operations, e.g. die forming, calendering and coating, and (2) three-dimensional molding and forming operations. Two-dimensional processes are either of the continuous, steady state type (e.g. film and sheet extrusion, wire coating, paper and sheet coating, calendering, fiber spinning, pipe and profile extrusion, etc.) or intermittent as in the case of extrusions associated with intermittent extrusion blow molding. Generally, molding operations are intermittent, and, thus, they tend to involve unsteady state conditions.  Thermoforming, vacuum forming, and similar processes may be considered as secondary shaping operations, since they usually involve the reshaping of an already shaped form. In some cases, like blow molding, the process involves primary shaping (parison formation) and secondary shaping (parison inflation).
Shaping operations involve simultaneous or staggered fluid flow and heat transfer. In two- dimensional processes, solidification usually follows the shaping process, whereas solidification and shaping tend to take place simultaneously inside the mold in three dimensional processes. Flow regimes, depending on the nature of the material, the equipment, and the processing conditions, usually involve combinations of shear, extensional, and squeezing flows in conjunc-tion with enclosed (contained) or free surface flows.
The thermo-mechanical history experienced by the polymer during flow and solidification results in the development of microstructure (morphology, crystallite, and orientation distri- butions) in the manufactured article. The ultimate properties of the article are closely related to the microstructure. Therefore, the control of the process and product quality must be based on an understanding of the interactions between resin properties, equipment design, operating conditions, thermo-mechanical history, microstructure, and ultimate product properties.

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