Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


A novel microstream injection molding method for thermotropic liquid crystalline polymers to promote mechanical isotropy: A matrixing microbeam X-ray study

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The effects of flow-altering inserts and mold cavity geometry on the mechanical properties of an injection molded liquid crystalline polymer were studied to produce parts with properties approaching macroscopically isotropic state. By inserting fine metal mesh barriers to the gates of the mold cavities, a large number of highly oriented microstreams are produced. After their creation these highly oriented streams of differing flow vectors intertwine and this texture remains reasonably intact even after substantial shearing and extension history imparted on them during ensuing flow into the cavity. This method is effective in the interior away from the skin regions formed under the shearing flow during injection. The local molecular orientation was determined using a matrixing microbeam WAXS technique that allows precision movement of the sample in the microbeam X-ray. Samples produced with the 1.0mm2 mesh showed large variations in the local symmetry axis with respect to the machine as measured by microbeam X-ray diffraction incrementally from the edge to the core of the parts. In comparison, samples with no mesh insert showed only gradual changes in the tilt angle (angle between local symmetry axis and flow direction). The modulus and tensile strengths of all samples with the 1.0mm2 mesh inserts were found to approach virtual global mechanical isotropy.

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