IMM Review: Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics

In the preface to his Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics, author Roger Jones states, "This book was written to provide a product design engineer with concise, basic information about the selection, use, and automated fabrication of short-fiber-reinforced plastics." 

The Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics does indeed live up to this promise; by contrast, most of what has been written to date about this class of materials is from a theoretical standpoint. Jones' guide is packed with information about today's real-world applications for these thermoplastic and thermoset materials. After reading this book, I think its audience should not be limited to product designers. The Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics is a convenient reference that can be used by students, teachers, process technicians, manufacturing engineers, and sales and marketing personnel, to name a few. 

Chapter 1 gives the reader a good introduction. Chapter 2 describes the materials in encyclopedic fashion: what they are and how they are used as pertains to part requirements and molding processes. Comparison charts and graphs show the differences in the materials, which leads logically into Chapter 3, Material Selection. This section includes a simplified rating chart of material characteristics to help narrow the choices for part design. 

Chapter 4, Design Considerations, covers basic concepts; computer-assisted design; dimensional stability; stress, strain, and time; temperature; toughness; environment; fabrication; economics; and ecological concerns. This chapter contains 30 pages of excellent information presenting a wide range of items that should be considered when using these materials. It is packed with detailed charts and graphs to help in the material, part, and molding selection process. 

Chapters 5 and 6, written by Mitchell R. Jones, explain in great detail the critical need for prototyping and testing to make sure you have made the right material choice. Specifications and testing, along with quality issues, total quality management, and case studies are reviewed thoroughly; plenty of references and bibliographic information back up the text. 

Chapter 7, 34 pages written by Donald V. Rosato, is devoted to the injection molding of these materials. Here are plenty of pictures, graphs, charts, diagrams, and tables with detailed explanations for each segment of the molding process. The molding machine, mold types, screw injection units, process controls, and such variables as orientation, weldlines, tolerances, and drying are covered thoroughly for injection molding. 

The same kind of detail and information is supplied in Chapter 8, Other Types of Processing, for compression and transfer molding, reaction injection molding, PTFE processing, extrusion, blowmolding, and secondary processes. 

I enjoyed reading this book and I think it has a lot to offer to those seeking to become knowledgeable about short-fiber-reinforced plastics. Don't let the size of this relatively small book (9 by 6 by .5 inches) fool you. It's not the size that matters—it's what's inside that counts.—Reviewer: Al Gray, plastics engineering and technology manager, Sta-Rite Industries Inc., Delavan, WI. 

Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics is one of many books selected for injection molders that are offered through the IMM Book Club and count toward a Bonus Book award. For more information, call Renee Barker at (303) 321-2322; fax (303) 321-3552; e-mail [email protected]; or visit www.immbookclub.com

Jones, Roger F. Guide to Short Fiber Reinforced Plastics (1998), 174 pp., figures, tables, photos, bibliography, index, $68.00. 

 

 

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