If you need large parts made quickly and efficiently, try injection molding with dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) resin. Capable of manufacturing parts several times larger than those produced by compression or traditional injection molding without sacrificing strength, stability, or aesthetic appeal, DCPD injection molding is perfect for vehicle body panels, fan shrouds, protective shields, and anything else in a high-impact environment.
What is DCPD?
Dicyclopentadiene, aka DCPD or C10H12, is an artificial chemical compound created by heating naptha or gas oils such as crude oil. It is used in paints, adhesives, inks, and especially thermoset resins.
DCPD resin is characterized by its low viscosity and its resistance to heat, impact, and corrosive chemicals when compared to thermoplastic resins used in standard reaction injection moulding (RIM). This allows the resulting product to be large, strong, and lightweight and makes it a popular choice for protective coverings such as shields and hoods as well as the outer bodies of cars, trucks and machinery.
The DCPD Injection Molding Process
DCPD injection molding is a process for quickly, efficiently creating large parts using dicyclopentadiene resin. It utilizes a closed mold and a low-moisture low-oxygen environment.
Two streams of resin are injected into the mold simultaneously, along with a catalyst (such as molybdenum or tungsten) to set off the proper chemical reaction. Romeo RIM’s DCPD setup injects the resin into the mold in only 15 to 20 seconds.
Once the material has entered the mold, the combination of resin, catalyst and applied pressure transforms the liquid DCPD resin into a solid thermoset. The part is fully cured within the mold in about one minute. The entire cycle of creating one part takes only 4 to 6 minutes. No additional curing is needed once the part has left the mold.
Benefits of DCPD Injection Molding
In addition to the quick cycle time mentioned above, DCPD has a number of advantages over traditional materials such as fiberglass, wood, steel or thermoplastic polymers.
DCPD injection molding can produce parts of unprecedented size compared to standard injection molding. Parts can be produced with a surface area of up to 120 ft2 (11.15m2) and a thickness of up to 12 inches (300mm). Even a small DCPD part can boast dimensions of 8 to 10 ft2 (800 mm2 to 1m2) – the absolute upper range of a standard injection mold.
Despite their large size, DCPD parts are strong, flexible, and best of all, lightweight, featuring an exceptional strength to weight ratio and average density of only 1.03 g/cc. Because of its light weight, DCPD is also environmentally beneficial – vehicles featuring bumpers, body panels, spoilers or fenders made of DCPD will be more fuel efficient than those using more traditional, heavier materials.
DCPD is impact resistant and has been referred to as “virtually unbreakable”. It can function perfectly after heavy or repeated impacts, in extremely hot temperatures and even after exposure to a variety of chemicals. In those rare instances that it does break, DCPD is easily reparable when compared to metal or wood in similar circumstances. Like our LFI molds, our DCPD molds allow for additional strengthening via the creation of B-side geometry such as ribbing.
Our DCPD mold can create complex designs, including parts with variable wall thicknesses. DCPD parts do not require identical part geometry for multi-cavity molds.
The ability to create more complex parts in comparison to metal such as steel makes DCPD extremely cost-efficient to use, as less overall parts need to be manufactured to serve the same function.
In addition, parts created using a DCPD mold feature a smooth, glossy surface that is easy to paint. While post-mold painting is required, DCPD has good adhesion and paints well, allowing for the quick, easy production of a Class A finish in any color of the rainbow.
Romeo RIM uses DCPD injection molding to create everything from the fenders of farm machinery to the hoods of massive transport trucks. Call us today to get started with the process of making the strongest, toughest and most lightweight large-scale parts on the market!