In precision optical applications, plastics thick-walled optical lenses are increasing. Dimensional stability and optical performance are the critical issues that should be addressed for plastic thick-walled lenses. A novel multi-layer counter-pressure injection molding process is proposed in this study. The experimental prism mold with moveable pistons was developed to investigate the effects of layering methods, counter-pressure and their combination on thick-walled optical lenses. The experimental results reveal that counter-pressure injection molding is effective in improving shrinkage, transmittance and refractive index of the thick-walled optical prism. Counter-pressure of the piston provided lower melt velocity and shorter flow path of melt to improve polymer molecules orientation, and also offered continuous holding pressure during the filling stage to eliminate defects such as shrinkage or short shots. The combination of counter-pressure and multi-layer injection molding technology further improved the dimension stability and optical performance of the thick-walled optical lens. Much thinner layers than the final wall thickness of prism ensures shrinkage reduction during the cooling stages. A thick-walled optical prism was fabricated successfully upon applying a multi-layer counter-pressure injection molding process.
This study is supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2019YFC1906105), the Science and Technology Major Project of Ningbo (2018B10021, 2018B10082), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (XK1802-3, 2312017BHYC04A).
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