Replication of sub-micrometer structures by injection molding leads to special requirements for the mold in order to ensure proper replica and acceptable cycle time. This paper investigates the applicability of induction heating embedded into the mold for the improvement of nanopattern replication. A tool insert having a surface containing functional geometries in the sub-micrometer range was produced using aluminum anodization and nickel electroplating. In order to provide elevated mold temperatures necessary for the complete replica of the pattern, a new mold setup was developed, which allows rapid heating of the cavity wall using an induction heating system. Temperature was measured using a thermocouple placed in the mold insert. The system was used to heat up the cavity wall with heating rates of up to 10 K/s. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) were used as materials, and heating parameters were investigated after a preliminary optimization with standard heating conditions. The replicated surfaces were quantitatively characterized by atomic force microscopy using specific three-dimensional surface amplitude parameters and qualitatively inspected by scanning electron microscopy. The experimental results show that the use of the induction heating system is an efficient way for improving nanoreplication.
International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 2014, Vol 74, Issue 5-8, p. 907-916
HASH(0x518fc38); Nanoinjection molding; Nanotooling; Induction heating; Surface heating; Atomic force microscope; Scanning electron microscope