Improved Fiber Optic Materials by Improving the Polymerization Process

Acrylic and methacrylic-based optical systems generally exhibit superior optical properties such as light transmission when bulk polymerized (e.g., cast in situ) in the purest form possible. There are normally two types of impurities that cause bulk scattering, bubbles and chemical impurities such as inhibitors, alcohols, oxidized monomers, etc. Acrylic/methacrylic monomers at any viscosity can literally be purified to 100% prior to polymerization.

Our fiber optic polymerization expert worked with the client to optimize the acrylic polymerization process to produce high quality fiber optic materials with excellent batch to batch consistency. The key variables were identified and optimized. Polymerization initiators were also evaluated. The status quo initiator (benzoyl peroxide) has rather low efficiency and is prone to side reactions leading to the formation of unwanted by-products including carbon dioxide gas. Our expert recommended changing the initiator to a more efficient lower temperature initiator. The result was more consistent performance and the production of higher quality fiber optic resin.

Cause of Worm-Tracking of Chrome Plated ABS Bumpers

Dr. Duane Priddy, Plastic Expert Group

The client manufactures chrome plated ABS bumpers for an automotive customer. They periodically experience bumpers with “worm tracking” on them as seen in the figure below. Our experts extensively analyzed a worm tracked bumper comparing areas where the chrome plating adhesion was good and compared areas where adhesion of the chrome plating was bad to identify the root cause of the problem. The results of the testing revealed that the problem was a tooling issue and was not related to the material. We subsequently worked with the client to eliminate the worm tracking problem.

Redesign of Plastic Bottle Closure to Eliminate Failure

Dr. Duane Priddy, Plastic Expert Group

The client manufactures plastic bottles for chemical solutions. At the end of the threads is a tab which produces a clicking sound when the screw cap was fully seated. Occasionally a tab would break off the bottle. Our experts evaluated the current design and performed computer modeling using finite element analysis (FEA) to redesign the bottle and eliminate the failures.

  Figure 1.  Photographs of the bottle with the tab (left) and with tab missing after breakage (right).

Figure 1. Photographs of the bottle with the tab (left) and with tab missing after breakage (right).