Performance of nickel and bulk metallic glass as tool inserts for the microinjection molding of polymeric microfluidic devices

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Title: Performance of nickel and bulk metallic glass as tool inserts for the microinjection molding of polymeric microfluidic devices
Authors: Zhang, Nan
Srivastava, Amit P.
Browne, David J.
Gilchrist, M. D.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7973
Date: May-2016
Abstract: Electroformed nickel and bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) can be designed to incorporate features withlength scales ranging from millimeters to nanometers. This, combined with their good mechanical prop-erties relative to other materials, makes them competitive candidates for manufacturing multi-scalemolds to produce high volumes of polymeric microfluidics components and other micro/nano devices.Despite this attractiveness, BMGs are newly developed engineering materials and their capabilities asa mold material have not been evaluated. This paper compares the performance of nickel tools madeby an electroforming process and BMG tools made by a thermoplastic forming process, specifically withregard to typical microfluidics patterns and features. Ni shows excellent capabilities for good featurereplication. BMG thermoplastic forming is highly dependent on the choice of alloy composition, whichrestricts the achievable feature size and aspect ratio. Compared to Ni, BMG has hardness values that areclose to those of stainless steel and shows the superior mechanical strength that is required for massproduction applications. However, oxidation in BMG tool manufacturing process affects the tool surfacefinish significantly and reduces the tool¿s corrosion resistance. Future development of BMG tools includepreventing the formation of oxidation layers or developing BMGs with an anti-oxidation composition,and further reducing their overall cost and widening its processing window parameters. Despite thesechallenges, however, BMGs are shown to combine excellent mechanical properties and capabilities formulti-scale forming; this makes them significantly more attractive than relatively soft Ni tools.
Funding Details: Enterprise Ireland
European Commission - European Regional Development Fund
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright (published version): 2016 Elsevier
Keywords: Feature replication;Tool performance;Electroforming;Thermoplastic forming
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2015.12.011
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Mechanical & Materials Engineering Research Collection

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