Abstract

New aluminum alloys, QC-7® and QE-7®, have thermal conductivities four times greater than traditional tool steels, and have significantly increased strength and hardness compared to traditional aluminum materials. Molds were constructed of P-20 tool steel and QE-7® aluminum and were used to provide experimental data regarding thermal mold characteristic and confirm injection molding simulation predictions using C-Mold®. The relationships between cooling time reduction (using aluminum alloys) and polymer type, cooling channel depth, part wall thickness, and coolant temperature were explored both experimentally and using simulation software. It was shown that the potential reduction in cooling time varied from 5% to 25%. The most significant percentage improvements were observed in parts with part wall thickness of 0.05″ to 0.10″ and in molds with cooling channels at a depth ratio (D/d) of 2.0. The thermal pulses in the steel mold 0.10″ from the surface were approximately 63% larger than in aluminum mold.

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