41. Reaction Injection Molding - Nifty 50
Reaction injection molding (RIM) involves the high-speed mixing of two or more reactive chemicals, such as prepolymers, as an integral part of injecting them into a mold.
The mixture flows into the mold at relatively low temperature, pressure and viscosity. Curing occurs in the mold, again at relatively low temperature and pressure. The entire process, from mixing to demolding, typically takes less than a minute.
Generally, RIM has resulted in lighter replacements for structural steel, such as strong and resilient plastics of the kind found in car bumpers and other shock-resistant or shock-absorbing products.
This technology brings substantial cost savings to automobile owners through reduced repair and insurance costs and reduced fuel consumption.
Public benefits accrue from reduced air pollution as well. NSF has supported RIM research since the 1970s, when much of the DOD's network of university-based Materials Research Laboratories was transferred to NSF. In the 1980s, software developed by an NSF-supported researcher proved to be a commercial success. Union Carbide, DOD and NASA also provided support.
Original publication date: April 2000