This proposal is concerned with the development of new technology for multilayer injection moulding.
Predictive modelling tools have been developed to be used in injection moulding and related processes like reactive injection moulding (RIM), structural RIM (SRIM), transfer moulding (TM) and resin transfer moulding (RTM).
Almost all software developed has been implemented in a software package named VIp. It can be considered as the most advanced and, more importantly, experimentally validated moulding simulation code available. VIp calculates the pressure gradients in the 2-dimensional midplane of the curved, thin product and the velocity, temperature and density distributions in full 3 dimensions. Apart from this , the code is capable of predicting frozen in flow induced stresses, thermal stresses, warpage, particle paths, reactive systems and anisotropy in the mould.
The solution of the particle tracking problem revealed its relevance for simulating other properties of injection moulded products that are related to the total deformation history of particles.
The modelling tools are useful for all modelling techniques where quality is worth investigation. Multilayer moulding technologies, or better multicomponent techniques, can be used in different industrial applications.
Exploitation and marketing of products made via the multicomponent moulding technique is at an early stage.
The technique of multilayer injection moulding itself is not new, but is yet to be explored to its full potential. The very limited use so far is due to the use of sequential injection only, the use of only two materials, and the restriction to simple axi-symmetric thick-walled products. In the proposed project technology will be developed for combined simultaneous and sequential injection of three materials allowing, for example, combinations of dissimilar polymers with an adhesive layer between them.
With a single injection step, one would be able to make integrated products with, for example, built-in conductive layers (EMI shielding) or gas barrier layers (food packaging). The development of this new technology will require extensive adaptation of existing technology, including the solution of a number of technological problems concerning the design of the valve system, the strategy of injection, the pre-configuration of the material to be moulded and the computer control system controlling the pross.
SA2 8PP Swansea