The relationship among processing conditions, material properties, and part quality in hot embossing was investigated for three optical polymers: polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and polyvinyl butyral (PVB). A series of systematic embossing experiments was conducted using mold inserts having either single or multiple feature depths. The feature dimensions varied from 90 to 3000 μm. The processing conditions studied include embossing pressure, thermal cycles, and heating methods. The displacement profile, replication accuracy and molded-in stresses were measured experimentally. It was found that for isothermal embossing, both replication accuracy and birefringence pattern depend strongly on the processing conditions. For non-isothermal embossing, the molded parts showed excellent replication as long as the feature transfer was completed. The flow pattern under isothermal embossing resembles a biaxial extensional flow. Under non-isothermal embossing, the polymer deformation involves an upward flow along the wall of mold features, followed by downward compression and outward squeezing. Rheological characterization and hot embossing analysis are presented in Part II.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry