As an overall conclusion, it can be stated that the work performed and the results achieved, has met the overall objective of the project in as much as the project has advanced the technical acceptability of Push Pull injection moulding, both in terms of properties of the processed components as well as in control of the process, to a degree where it is ready for introduction into a range of manufacturing industries.
It is proposed to develop "Push-Pull" injection moulding (IM) with gas pressing of self reinforcing thermoplastic (e.g. LCP) and short fibre composite hollow components to a higher state of art by integrating full in-process inspection and specific non destructive methods into the R&D strategy. The innovative processing technique overcomes the well-known problems of weldline weakness, porosities and undefined fibre and polymer orientation in conventional injection moulding products. Because of their insufficient properties these have been rejected from high performance applications. The "push-pull" technique inducing counter flow in the IM process combined with gas pressing which blows residual melt out of the inner volume yields a new class of thin walled lightweight structures with exceptional mechanical and thermal properties and allows a wide range of complex geometries. Currently the quality of thermoplastic prototypes has not reached the optimal level and severely suffers from lacking knowledge about material properties due to insufficient performance of non destructive testing methods and/or exhaustive analytical methods. In the field of duroplastic composites it is well known that the equivalent problem and their restriction to simple geometries has limited their implementation into modern technologies during the last decade. This project tries to avoid such a development in the emerging technology of Push-Pull IM components by providing the necessary precompetetive knowledge to European industries in time. Prototypes of "high tec" part for aviation and aerospace and "mid tec" parts for automotive technology will be developed. Among their advantages are high strength to weight ratio, low costs compared to other high performance composites and mass production potential. Key tasks of the project are : Optimising processing parameters, developing in-process monitoring by ultrasonic transducers and adapting advanced non destructive testing (DT).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts