This paper was aimed at finding out the solution to the problem of insufficient dimensional accuracy caused by non-linear shrinkage deformation during injection molding of small module plastic gears. A practical numerical approach was proposed to characterize the non-linear shrinkage and optimize the dimensional deviation of the small module plastic gears. Specifically, Moldflow analysis was applied to visually simulate the shrinkage process of small module plastic gears during injection molding. A 3D shrinkage gear model was obtained and exported to compare with the designed gear model. After analyzing the non-linear shrinkage characteristics, the dimensional deviation of the addendum circle diameter and root circle diameter was investigated by orthogonal experiments. In the end, a high-speed cooling concept for the mold plate and the gear cavity was proposed to optimize the dimensional deviation. It was confirmed that the cooling rate is the most influential factor on the non-linear shrinkage of the injection-molded small module plastic gears. The dimensional deviation of the addendum circle diameter and the root circle diameter can be reduced by 22.79% and 22.99% with the proposed high-speed cooling concept, respectively.
In situ injection molding of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites is challenged by unbalanced dual-scale infiltration flow due to the pronounced capillary effect. In this paper, a general and efficient approach was proposed for dual-scale infiltration flow balancing based on numerical simulation. Specifically, Stokes and Brinkman equations were used to describe the infiltration flow in inter- and intra-fiber bundles. In particular, capillary pressure drop was integrated in the Brinkmann equation to consider the capillary effect. The infiltration flow front is tracked by the level set method. Numerical simulation and experimental results indicate that the numerical model can accurately demonstrate the unbalanced infiltration flow in inter- and intra-fiber bundles caused by the changes of the injection rate, the resin viscosity, the injection rate, the fiber volume fraction and the capillary number. In addition, the infiltration flow velocity in inter- and intra-fiber bundles can be efficiently tuned by the capillary number, which is mainly determined by the injection rate for a specified resin system. The optimal capillary numbers obtained by simulation and experiment are 0.022 and 0.026, which are very close to each other. Finally, one-dimensional in situ injection molding experiments with constant injection pressure were conducted to prepare fiber reinforced polymerized cyclic butylene terephthalate composite laminate with various flow rates along the infiltration direction. The experimental results confirmed that the lowest porosity and the highest interlaminar shear strength of the composite can only be obtained with the optimized capillary number, which is basically consistent with the simulation results.
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