Table of Contents
ISRN Optics
Volume 2012, Article ID 872816, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/872816
Research Article

Compression-Induced Solidification: A Novel Processing Technique for Precise Thermoplastic Optical Components with Negligible Internal Stresses

1Institute of Polymer Technology, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Am Weichselgarten 9, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
2Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Hohe Straβe 6, 01069 Dresden, Germany

Received 1 March 2012; Accepted 6 May 2012

Academic Editors: D. Kouznetsov and V. Toal

Copyright © 2012 Ariane Jungmeier et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the field of optical components, thermoplastics are replacing more and more glass mainly because of their better freedom of design and their cost-effective processing techniques. Nevertheless, especially lenses do not have an ideal design for plastic processing, because of their varying thickness from the centre to the edge. These lead to great differences in shrinkage due to the dif-ferent coefficients of thermal expansion of melt and solid state and, consequently, directly lead to warpage and residual stresses with state-of-the-art processing techniques. A promising solution is a new, innovative technique—compression-induced solidification (CIS)—where the melt is compressed at constant temperature until it solidifies. This results in isochronic solidification of the whole part even at high temperatures and reduces residual stresses and warpage due to the cooling of a body with homogenous shrinkage. In this paper, CIS integrated in the injection molding process is introduced, and the influence of process parameters on inner properties and dimensional accuracy of CIS polycarbonate parts are illustrated. Trials carried out indicate that an optimum level of compression pressure at the end of glass transition range and a sufficiently long period of holding time (hereinafter the adapting time) for reaching homogeneous temperatures within the melt until pressure is applied will generate parts with low residual stresses and high dimensional accuracy.