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Reaction Injection Moulding In Nylon

01 February 2005

Low-pressure moulding methods, such as reaction injection moulding (RIM),
have extended the economies and design benefits of injection moulding to
applications once limited by mould cost, volume or processing challenges.
In one of the latest developments, Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products
(QEPP) has extended the benefits of low pressure casting (LPC) to nylon
based materials.

LPC processes have improved the economies of scale for plastic parts
ranging from a few grams to several kilograms in weight, where there are
no wall thickness limitations and where production runs are in the region
of a few hundred to several thousand parts per year. The lower processing
temperatures and pressures also mean that aluminium tools can be used in
place of those made from hardened tool steel.

Polyamide is among the few engineering thermoplastics that can be
processed from pellets or by monomer casting (the monomer is polymerised
directly in the mould). While QEPP has used monomer casting for years to
produce its nylon stock rod, plate and tubes, the company has now adapted
LPC processes to handle nylon based monomers. During the process, the
monomer is combined with carefully controlled amounts of catalyst and
initiators. The subsequent reactio forms polymers that grow in molecular
weight until the reaction ceases and the monomers are transformed into a
rigid, solid polymer.

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