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FORMING AND SHAPING OF PLASTICS AND

COMPOSITE MATERIALS

PLASTICS
INTRODUCTION:
1.
2.

3.

4.
5.

Plastics are one of the numerous polymeric materials and have


extremely large molecules. (Chain of mers or monomers, i.e.
Hydrocarbon molecules)
Because of their many unique and diverse properties, polymers have
increasingly replaced metallic components in applications such as
automobiles, civilian and military aircraft, sporting goods, and office
equipment.
They have advantage in strength-to-weight ratio, design possibilities,
wide choice of colors and transparencies, ease of manufacturing, and
relatively low cost.
Compared to metals, polymers have generally low density, low
strength and stiffness, low electrical and thermal conductivity, good
resistance to chemicals, and high co-efficient of thermal expansion.
Useful temperature range for most polymers is low, up to about
350o C (660 o F) and are not dimensionally stable over a period of
time like metals.

PLASTICS
6.

Plastics can be machined, cast, formed and joined into many shapes
with relative ease.

7.

Minimal or no additional surface finishing operations are required.

8.

Plastics are commercially available as sheet, plate, film, rods and


tubing of various cross sections.

9.

Thermoplastics are that family of polymers which become soft on


heating, and it becomes easier to form or mold them into desired
shapes. If we then cool the polymer, it returns to its original hardness
and strength.

10. Thermosets, because of their nature of their binds, the strength and
hardness of the thermosets, unlike thermoplastics, are not effected
by temperature. The generally possess better mechanical, thermal,
and chemical properties, electrical resistance and dimensional
stability than do thermoplastics.

THE STRUCTURE OF POLYMERS


1.

Polymers are long-chain molecules or giant molecules, which are


formed by polymerization, that is, by linking and cross linking of
different monomers.

2.

A monomer is the basic building block of polymers.

3.

The term poly-mer means many mers or units, repeated hundres or


thousands of times in a chain like structure.

4.

Monomers are organic materials in which carbon atoms are joined in


covalent (electron sharing) with other atoms, such as hydrogen,
oxygen, nitrogen, fluorine, etc.
H H H H H H

6. Mer: c c c c c c
H H H H H H

EXTRUSION
1. In extrusion, raw material in the form of thermoplastic pallets,
granules or powder are placed into a hopper and fed into the
extruder barrel.
2. The barrel is equipped with a screw that blends and conveys the
pallets into the barrel.
3. The internal friction from the mechanical action of the screw, along
with the heaters around the extruders barrel, heats the pallets and
liquefies them.
4. The screw action also builds up pressure in the barrel.
5. The barrel screw ha three distinct sections:
a) A feed section that conveys the material from the hopper
area into the central region of the barrel.
b) A melt or transition section where the heat generation from
shearing of the plastic causes melting to begin, and
c) A pumping section where additional shearing and melting
occurs, with pressure build up in the die.
6. The lengths of these sections can be changed to accommodate the
melting characteristics of different plastics.

EXTRUSION
7. The molten plastic is forced through the die ---- similar to extruding
materials.
8. The extruded product is then cooled, rather by air or passing it
through a water filled channel.
9. Controlling the rate and uniformity of cooling is important to
minimize product shrinkage and distortion.
10. The extruded product can also be drawn by a puller after it has
cooled
11. The extruded product is then cooled or cut into desired lengths.
12. Complex shapes with constant
cross sections can be extruded
with relatively inexpensive
tooling.

EXTRUSION
13. Continuous, long products with cross-sections of solids rods,
channels, pipe, window frames, and architectural components, as
well as sheet are extruded through dies of various geometries.
14. Process parameters such as extruder screw speed, barrel wall
temperature, die design, cooling and drawing speeds should be
controlled carefully in order to extrude products having uniform
dimensional accuracy.
15. To filter out un-melted or congealed resin, a metal screen is placed
just before the die and is replaced periodically.
16. Extruders are generally rated by the diameter of the barrel and by
the length-to-diameter (L/D) ratio of the barrel. Typical commercial
units are 25-200 mm (1-8 in.) in diameter with L/D ratio of 5 t0 30.

17. Production size extrusion equipment coats around $30,000 to


$80,000, with an additional $30,000 cost for equipment downstream
cooling and winding of the extruded product.

INJECTION MOLDING
1. Injection molding is essentially the same process as hot-chamber die
casting process.
2. Granules of raw material are fed by gravity from a hopper into a
cavity that lies ahead of a moving plunger.
3. As the plunger advances, the material is forced into a heated
chamber, where it is preheated. From there it is forced through a
torpedo section, where it is melted and superheated to 400-600o F.
4. The material exits the torpedo section through a nozzle that seats
against a mold.

5. Newer equipment is of reciprocating screw type. As the pressure


builds up at the mold entrance, the rotating screw begins to move
backward under pressure to a predetermined distance, thus
controlling the volume of material to be injected.
6. The screw stops rotating and is pushed forward hydraulically, forcing
the molten plastic into the mold cavity.
7. Injection molding pressures usually range from 70 MPa to 200 MPa
(10,000 psi to 30,000 psi).

INJECTION MOLDING
8. Because the material is molten when injected into the mold,
complex shapes and good dimensional accuracy can be achieved.
9. Injection molds have several components, depending on the part
design, such as runners, cores, cavities, cooling channels, knock out
pins and ejectors.
10. Three basic types of molds:
a) Cold runner two plate mold: Basic and simplest mold design
b) Cold runner three plate mold: In which the runner system is
separated from the part when the mold opens
c) Hot runner mold: Molten plastic is kept hot in a heated runner
plate
11. Metallic components, such as screws, pins and strips can be placed in
the mold cavity to become integral part of the injection molded
product.

INJECTION MOLDING
12. Injection molding is a high-rate production process. Typical cycle
times range from5 to 60 seconds, but can be several minutes for
thermosetting materials.
13. The molds are generally made of tool steels or beryllium-copper,
and may have multiple cavities so that more than one part can be
made at a time.
14. Factors effecting quality of molds are: mold design, control of
material flow in the die, injection pressure, temperature and
condition of the resin.

BLOW MOLDING
1. Blow molding is a modified extrusion and injection molding process,
most common being to convert thermoplastic polyethylene,
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene resins into bottles and other
hollow shaped containers.
2. In Injection blow molding, a short tubular piece, (parison), is first
injection molded. It is preheated and clamped between the two
halves of a mold with a cavity much larger than the tube diameter.
Hot air is injected into the parison, which then expands to fill the
mold cavity. Typical products are plastic bottles and hollow
containers.
3. In Extrusion blow molding, a tube (parison) is extruded, clamped
into a mold cavity larger than its diameter and then blown outwards
to fill the mold cavity. Blowing is usually done with an air blast, at a
pressure of 350 -700 kPa (50 -100 psi)
4. In some operations, the extrusion is continuous. The molds close
around the tubing, close off both ends (thereby breaking the tube
into sections), and then move away as air is injected into the tubular
piece. The part is then cooled and ejected.

BLOW
MOLDING

INJECTION BLOW
MOLDING

EXTRUSION BLOW
MOLDING

ROTATIONAL MOLDING
1.
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3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Most thermoplastics and some thermosets can be formed into


large hollow parts by rotational molding.
A thin walled metal mold is made of two pieces, and is designed to
be rotated about two perpendicular axes
A premeasured quantity of powdered plastic material is placed
inside a warm mold.
The powder is obtained from a polymerization process that
precipitates a powder from a liquid.
The mold is then heated, usually in large oven, while it is rotated
about the two axes.
This action tumbles the powder against the mold, where heating
fuses the powder without melting it.
Typical parts made by rotational molding are tanks of various sizes,
trash cans, boat hulls, buckets, housings, toys, and footballs.
Various metallic or plastic inserts may also be molded into the
parts made by this process.

ROTATIONAL MOLDING (cont. .)


10. Liquid polymers, called plastisols, can also be used in a process
called slush casting. The mold is simultaneously heated and
rotated. The particles of plastic material are forces against the
inside walls of the heated mold by the tumbling action. Upon
contact, the material coats the walls of the mold. The part is
cooled while still rotating. Part is removed by opening the mold.
11. Rotational molding can produce parts with complex hollow shapes,
with wall thicknesses as small as 0.4 mm (0.016 in.)
12. Parts as large as 1.8 mx 1.8 m x 3.6 m (6 ft x 6 ft x 12 ft) can be
formed.
13. The outer surface finish is the replica of the surface finish of the
mold walls.
14. Equipment costs are low.
15. Quality control considerations usually involve proper weight of
powder placed in the mold, proper rotation of the mold, and the
temperature-time relationship during the oven cycle.

THERMOFORMING
1. Thermoforming is a series of processes for forming
thermoplastic sheet or film over a mold with the application
of heat and pressure.
2. In this process, a sheet is heated in an oven to the sag point
(softening state) --- but not to the melting point.
3. The sheet is then removed from the oven, place over the
mold, and pulled against the mold through the application of
vacuum.
4. Since the mold is usually at room temperature, the shape of
the plastic is set upon contacting the mold.

5. Because of the low strength of the materials formed, the


pressure differential difference caused by the vacuum is
usually sufficient for forming, although air pressure or
mechanical means are also applied for some parts.

THERMOFORMING (cont. ..)


6. Typical parts made this way are advertising signs,
refrigerator liners, packing, appliance housings, panels, etc.
7. Parts with opening and holes cannot be formed because the
pressure differential cannot be maintained during forming.
8. It is basically drawing and stretching operation, the material
should exhibit high elongation, otherwise it may fail.
9. The sheets used in thermoforming are made by extrusion.
10. Molds for thermoforming are usually made of aluminium
since high strength is not required.
11. The holes in the mold are usually less than 0.5 mm (0.02 in.)
in order not to leave any marks on the formed sheet.
12. Tooling is inexpensive.
13. Quality considerations include tears, non-uniform wall
thicknesses, improperly filled molds, and poor surface
details.

COMPRESSION MOLDING
1.

In compression molding, a pre-shaped charge of material,


premeasured volume of powder, or a viscous mixture of liquid
resin and filler material is placed directly in a heated mold cavity.

2.

Forming is done under pressure with a plug or the upper half of


the die.

3.

Compression molding results in flash formation; it is removed by


trimming or some other means.

4.

Parts made are dishes, handles, container caps, electrical and


electronic components, washing machine agitators, etc.

5.

Fiber-reinforced parts with long chopped fibers are exclusively


made by this process.

6.

Compression molding is used mainly with thermosetting plastics,


with the original material in a partially polymerized state. Cross
linking is completed in the heated die, with curing times ranging
from 0.5 to 5 mins., depending on the material and part geometry
and its thickness. The thicker the material, the longer it will take.

7.

Die costs are generally less than dies for injection molding.

TRANSFER MOLDING
1.
2.
3.
4.
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6.
7.
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Transfer molding is a further development of compression


molding.
The uncured thermosetting material is placed in a heated transfer
pot or chamber.
After the material is heated, it is injected into a heated closed
molds.
Depending on the type of machine used, a ram, plunger or a
rotating screw-feeder forces the material to flow through the
narrow channels into the mold cavity.
This flow generates considerable heat, which raises the
temperature of the material and homogenizes it.
Curing takes place by cross linking.
Because the resin is molten as it enters the molds, the complexity
of the part and dimensional accuracy approach those for injection
molding.
Parts made by transfer molding are electrical and electronic
components, and rubber and silicon parts.
Molds are more expensive than molds for compression molding.

CASTING OF PLASTICS:
1.

Some thermoplastics, such as nylons and acrylics, and


thermosetting plastics, such as epoxies, polyurethanes, can be cast
in rigid or flexible molds into a variety of shapes.

2.

Typical parts cast are gears, bearings, wheels, thick sheets and
components requiring resistance to abrasive wears.

3.

In casting of plastics, a mixture of monomer, catalyst, various


additives is heated and poured into the mold. The part is formed
after polymerization takes place at ambient temperature.

4.

Intricate shapes can be formed with flexible molds, which are then
peeled off.

5.

Centrifugal casting is also used with plastics, including reinforced


plastics with short fibers and thermoset plastics.

POTTING AND ENCAPSULATION


1.

A variation of casting that is important to the electronic and


electrical industry is potting and encapsulation.

2.

This involves casting the plastic around an electrical component,


thus embedding it in the plastic.

3.

Potting is done in a housing or case, which is an integral part of the


product.

4.

In encapsulation the component is covered wit a layer of the


solidified plastic.

5.

In both the applications the plastic serves as a dielectric


(nonconductor).

6.

Structural members, such as hooks and studs, may also be partly


encapsulated.

FOAM MOLDING AND CASTING


1.

Products such as Styrofoam cups and food containers, insulating blocks,


and shaped packing materials (such as for cameras, appliances,
electronics, etc.) are made by foam molding.

2.

The material is made of expandable polystyrene beads, containing a


blowing agent, are placed in a mold and exposed to heat, usually by
steam.

3.

As a result the beads expand as much as 50 times their original size and
take the shape of the mold.

4.

The amount of expansion can be controlled through temperature and


time.

5.

A common method of molding is using pre-expanded beads (by steam)

6.

They are then placed in a storage bin and allowed to stabilized for 3 to 12
hours. The beads are then molded into shape, as described above.

7.

Polystyrene beads are available in three sizes: small for cups, medium for
molded shapes, and large for molding of insulation blocks.

End of this lecture.

POLYMERIZATION
1.

Monomers in polymers can be linked in repeating units to make


longer and larger molecules by a chemical reaction known as the
polymerization reaction.

2.

There are two basic polymerization processes:


a)

Condensation polymerization: Polymers are produced by


the formation of bonds between two types of reacting mers.
Reaction by-product such as water are condensed out, hense
the term condensation. The polymer grows step by step until
all of one reactant is consumed.

b)

Addition polymerization: Bonding takes place without


reaction by-products. Polymer is produced at a high rate at
which long molecules form simultaneously, usually with in a
few seconds. The rate of polymer formation is much faster
than by condensation process.