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Process comparison on the microstructure and mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide using MuCell technology

: Lohr, C.; Beck, B.; Henning, F.; Weidenmann, K.A.; Elsner, P.


Journal of reinforced plastics and composites : JRPC 37 (2018), Nr.15, S.1020-1034
ISSN: 0731-6844 (Print)
ISSN: 1530-7964 (Online)
Fraunhofer ICT ()

The MuCell process is a special injection molding process which utilizes supercritical gas (nitrogen) to create integral foam sandwiches. The advantages are lower weight, higher specific properties and shorter cycle times. In this study, a series of glass fiber-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide foam blanks are manufactured using the MuCell injection molding process. The different variations of the process (low-pressure also known as structural foam injection molding) and high-pressure foam injection molding (also known as “core back expansion,” “breathing mold,” “precision opening,” decompression molding) are used. The sandwich structure and mechanical properties (tensile strength, bending strength, and impact behavior) of the microcellular and glass fiber-reinforced polyphenylene sulfide foams are systematically investigated and compared to compact material. The results showed that the injection parameters (injection speed, foaming mechanism) played an important role in the relative density of microcellular polyphenylene sulfide foams and the mechanical properties. It could be shown that the specific tensile strength decreased while increasing the degree of foaming which can be explained by the increased number of cells and the resulting cell size. This leads to stress peaks which lower the mechanical properties. The Charpy impact strength shows a significant dependence on the fiber orientation. The specific bending modulus of the high-pressure foaming process, however, surpasses the values of the other two processes showing the potential of this manufacturing variation especially with regard to bending loads. Furthermore, a high dependence of the mechanical properties on the fiber orientation of the tested specimens can be found.