A compression tool used to make 1-in. (2.5-cm) diameter disks of high-temperature polymers was designed to be shorter and of larger diameter than conventional tools to reduce heat loss to the surrounding air, thus making more efficient use of applied heat. This system is less sensitive to the amount and quality of insulation than previous tools, provides more repeatable processing, and improves the quality of the samples produced. These improvements come without increasing the weight of the punch portion of the tool over that of a conventional version, an important quality when handling lower-viscosity resins.

In use, the base and body of the tool are assembled, and the polymer to be processed is placed into the body of the tool. The punch is inserted, and the assembled tool is placed into the press. A temperature/pressure profile appropriate to the nature of the polymer is applied. A series of computational and experimental runs were made using a conventional tool to validate the computational model. The new tool design was then modeled, and when the performance showed a marked improvement, the new tool was manufactured. A new series of experimental runs showed that the thermal performance of the new tool agreed well with model predictions.

This work was done by Maria A. Kuczmarski and James C. Johnston of Glenn Research Center and DeNise Hardy-Green of the University of Akron.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Innovative Partnerships Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135. Refer to LEW-17990-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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