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Plastics engineering

Project "Hot Gas Welding"

Project "Hot Gas Welding"

In this research project a new hot gas welding process is being developed and scientifically investigated. The new hot gas welding process has several advantages over currently used welding methods. These are especially in the free design of the weld seam and its course. Three-dimensional weld seams can be produced very easily in comparison to the usual welding methods, such as ultrasonic or vibration welding. In addition, this welding process does not produce any particles which could lead to system damage in the later operation of the components.

The new hot gas welding process is also expected to significantly increase resource efficiency by using air instead of an inert gas. The influence of the gas exchange on the welded joint as well as the targeted, uniform heating of the plastic component in the area of the joining zone is to be investigated. For this purpose, the gas flow and nozzle design must be considered in particular to ensure a fast and uniform heating of the joining zone. Based on the results, design strategies for hot gas mirrors and corresponding component design are to be derived. The resource efficiency of the new welding process is to be confirmed by considering the sustainability.

Duration: April 2019 - December 2021
Project partner: GMB Kunststoffteile GmbH
Funding sign: ZF4166303FH8
Project Management Agency: AiF Projekt GmbH, ZIM-Cooperation Projects
Contact persons: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Deckert, Johannes Schmid, M.Sc.

Projekt "Snake Skin"

Projekt "Snake Skin"

The aim of the project, which is being jointly applied for by the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, is to develop industrial manufacturing processes for the production of bio-inspired nanostructures with high durability on polymer surfaces with a direction-dependent coefficient of friction (coefficient of friction on demand) that can be freely adjusted over a wide range and in line with requirements. Possible applications include the fields of medical and microsystems technology as well as storage and conveyor technology. Both small and large surfaces can be structured and thus functionalized in the desired injection molding process. In order to achieve this goal, processes for PVD-based, large-area deposition of directed (anisotropic) nanostructures are to be developed in the project. Such structures are to be applied to tools for plastic injection molding and molded into crosslinking polymers in the injection molding process so that structures modelled on the California King Snake can be created on the polymer surface. The skin of the King Snake has a special anisotropic micro- and nanostructure that allows the snake to move safely even on the most difficult surfaces. The tool surface can be flat or slightly curved and the surface can already have a microstructure introduced by conventional processing methods. The application of anisotropic nanostructures is to be achieved by an adapted process control in the coating process and by exploiting self-organization effects in the layer growth. In the injection molding process, it is to be investigated how the structures on the tool surfaces can be transferred to the component surfaces by means of targeted process control and how they can be reliably demolded. For increased durability, the nanostructures are to be molded in Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), a silicone suitable for injection molding. Variothermal temperature control is used for optimized replication. In contrast to the processing of thermoplastics, the mold surface is actively cooled before injection.

In the course of the project, such nanostructured demonstrator components will be sampled and characterized with respect to their friction coefficient properties and resistance. This is intended to provide evidence of the anisotropic, tribological effect of nanostructures and thus the targeted, direction-dependent friction coefficient modification. In the future, improved instruments for minimally invasive surgery, for example, will be available that will provide the surgeon with significantly improved haptic feedback compared to existing solutions. A further application is seen in conveyor technology, where direction-dependent and low-wear surfaces can be used, e.g. in vibrating spiral conveyors.


Duration: October 2018 - December 2021
Project partner: Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials
Project sponsor: VDI Technology Center, Project sponsor of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation
Contact persons: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Deckert, Dennis Weißer, M.Sc. 

Project "Adhesion of LSR"

Project "Adhesion of LSR"

During the research project the influence of the injection molding process on the bond strength of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) to thermoplastics is investigated. For this purpose, the mechanisms that are decisive for the bond strength will first be described and implemented in an empirical formula. Thus, already during the design phase the right material should be selected and the achievable bond strength should be specified.

The established model shall then be verified. For this purpose, an injection mold is to be designed and built that can process both materials and allows a detailed investigation. Especially the temperature control has to be considered more closely, since both materials are processed at very different mould temperatures. For this purpose a novel temperature control system based on a thick film heating element will be used. With this heating element, the temperature can be changed quickly, selectively and also during the injection molding process.

Duration: March 2019 - December 2021
project partners: Wilhelm Weber GmbH & Co. KG
funding sign: ZF4166302DN8
Project Management Agency: AiF Projekt GmbH, ZIM-Cooperation Projects
Contact persons: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Deckert, Dennis Mayer, M.Eng.

Apply for summer semester 2022!

The application period for the summer semester 2022 begins on November 15th 2021 .

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