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Abstract: Soft tooling processes use flexible polymeric materials to manufacture moulds. However, the malleable materials used for soft tooling, such as silicone rubber, have low thermal conductivities and take an extensive amount of time to cool. In this study, metallic (Aluminum fine powder, grey iron, copper, magnesium, titanium, zinc) and non-metallic (graphite, silicone, glass) thermally conductive filler particles were added to silicone rubber to condense the cooling time of soft tooling methods. The Hot Disk Thermal Constants Analyser measured the thermal conductivity of the filler samples using the transient plane source (TPS) method. Results showed that the thermal conductivity of silicone rubber increased with the volume of filler materials, however certain materials (i.e. copper, Al, graphite, silicon) improved the thermal conductivity more than others. It has been proven that adding any of the aforementioned thermally conductive fillers to silicone rubber will shorten the cooling period of the flexible moulds, and soft tooling processes will become more efficient.

Reference: Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 30, 17 (2011) 1429-1444

DOI: 10.1177/0731684411415888