Cryogenic Deflashing LCP Parts

Cryogenic Deflashing LCP Molded Parts



Introduction to LCP

Liquid crystal polymer, also known as LCP in the plastics industry is a type of polymer that has liquid crystal properties in its molecular structure. This means that it exhibits both liquid and solid-like behavior, making it unique among other types of polymers. LCPs are known for their high strength, stiffness, and heat resistance, as well as their low moisture absorption and dimensional stability. LCPs is used in a variety of applications, including electrical packaging and electronic components, medical devices, and consumer goods. Due to their high-performance characteristics, liquid crystal polymers are considered to be engineering grade plastics. This means that they are used in demanding applications that require materials with high strength and stability.

Applications of LCP

Liquid crystal polymers (LCPs) are versatile materials that are used in a wide range of applications. Some common examples include:

  1. Electrical and electronic components: LCPs are used to make connectors, terminals, and other electrical components because of their high resistance to heat, electrical insulation, and dimensional stability.
  2. Medical devices: Due to their biocompatibility, LCPs are used to make medical implants, such as artificial joints and heart valves, as well as sutures, catheters, and other medical devices.
  3. Consumer goods: LCPs are used to make products that require high strength and stiffness, such as mobile phone cases, camera bodies, and small household appliances.
  4. Automotive components: LCPs are used to make various automotive components, including gears, bearings, and fuel injector components, due to their high strength and dimensional stability.
  5. Aerospace components: LCPs are used in the aerospace industry for parts that require high strength, stiffness, and heat resistance, such as ducts, nozzles, and fairings.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of parts that can be molded from LCPs. The versatility of LCPs and their high-performance characteristics means that they are used in a wide array of applications.

Injection Molding LCP

Liquid crystal polymer (LCP) injection molding is a process where LCP pellets are melted and injected into a mold cavity, where it cools and solidifies to form a part. The process typically consists of the following steps:

  1. Loading the polymer: LCP pellets are loaded into the hopper of an injection molding machine, where they are then fed into a barrel.
  2. Melting the polymer: LCP is melted using heat and pressure inside the barrel of the molding machine. The temperature and pressure must be carefully controlled to ensure the proper viscosity and flow of the LCP being prepared to be injected.
  3. Injecting the polymer: The melted LCP is then injected into the mold cavity under high pressure. This helps to ensure that the polymer fills the entire mold cavity and that the part is produced with uniform thickness and density.
  4. Cooling the part: After the polymer has been injected into the mold, it is allowed to cool and solidify. The mold may be cooled using water, air, or other cooling methods to ensure that the part solidifies quickly and retains its shape.
  5. Ejecting the part: Once the part has solidified, it is removed from the mold. This is typically done using a hydraulic or mechanical ejector system, which pushes the part out of the mold.

LCPs can be challenging to process because of their high melting temperature and fast crystallization rate. Therefore, specialized processing may be required to mold LCPs. The injection molding process must be carefully optimized to ensure that the melted polymer has the proper viscosity, flow, and cooling rate to produce high-quality parts.

LCP Mold Flashing

LCP (liquid crystal polymer) is known to flash during the injection molding process, which can result in unwanted flash or residue along the edges of the molded part. This occurs when the melted polymer leaks out of the mold cavity and solidifies outside of the intended part shape.

The flashing of LCP during injection molding is typically caused by several factors, including:

  1. Inadequate mold design: If the mold design does not have proper parting lines, gate locations, and ejector systems, it can result in excessive flashing.
  2. Improper processing conditions: If the processing conditions, such as temperature, pressure, and mold temperature are not properly controlled it is possible to result in excessive flashing.
  3. Poor material flow: If the polymer does not flow evenly into the mold cavity, it can result in flashing along the external edges of the part.
  4. Wear and tear on the mold: Over time the mold may become worn or damaged, which can result in mold flashing.

It is important to carefully optimize the mold design, processing conditions, and material flow to minimize flashing while molding LCP. Additionally, the mold should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that it is in good condition, functioning properly and not wearing excessively. If excessive flashing is still a problem, it may be necessary to add a deflashing process after molding.

Cryogenic Deflashing LCP

LCP molded parts can be cryogenically deflashed. Cryogenic deflashing is a process that uses extremely low temperatures, tumbling and media blasting mechanisms to remove residual flash. In the case of LCP parts, cryogenic deflashing can be an effective way to remove any unwanted flash along the edges of the part.

Cryogenic deflashing is a fast and efficient method for removing flash, and it can be performed on a wide range of LCP parts, including those with complex shapes and tight tolerances. The process is typically performed using a gaseous nitrogen atmosphere within a cryogenic deflashing machine. This allows the parts to be rapidly cooled and reach the desired processing temperature quickly.

In addition to being an effective method for removing flash, cryogenic deflashing can also help to improve the overall quality and performance of the LCP parts by removing any surface imperfections that may have been introduced during the molding process.

Overall, cryogenic deflashing is a useful tool for improving the quality and performance of LCP parts, and it can be an effective alternative to other deflashing methods, such as tumbling or vibratory finishing.

Our lead time on our cryogenic deflashing service is only two business days. If you would like to send your LCP part samples for a no-cost deflashing evaluation, please contact us. We can be reached by email at or by phone at (508) 459-7447.