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					Tech 143: Polymer and
Composites Fabrication

Laboratory Manual and
  Writing Guidelines




      Fall, 2001

   Dr. Seth P. Bates

  Dept. of Technology
 College of Engineering
San Jose State University
Tech 143                                                                 Dr. Seth P. Bates
Polymers & Composites Technology                                                Fall, 2001



                                   Laboratory Exercises


No.    Lab Exercise Title                                        Principal Material(s)

1.     Polyurethane Foam Molding                                            Polyurethane

2.     Plastics Identification Burn Test                               Various Polymers

3.     Injection Molding                                    Acrylic, Polystyrene, ABS, PE

4.     Extrusion Molding                           Thermoplastic rubber, LDPE, HDPE

5.     Blow Molding                                                         Polyethylene

6.     Rotational Molding                                    Polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE)

7.     Plastisol Tool Dip                          Plastisol & Organosol Solution (PVC)

8.     Free Air Blowing                                                     Acrylic, ABS

9.     Vacuum Forming                                         PVC, Acetate, Acrylic, ABS

10.    Fabrication with Acrylic                                                   Acrylic

11.     Compression Molding                               Phenol Formaldehyde (Bakelite)

12.    Fiber-Reinforced Plastics                             Fiberglass, Polyester, MEKP

13.    Laminate Processing                          Fiberglass, Graphite, Polypropylene

14.    Repairing Composite Structural Damage                 Fiberglass, Polyester, MEKP

15.    Filament Winding Process                   Fiberglass, Graphite, Polyester, MEKP

Additional Materials:

       Laboratory Report Write-Up Guide                                          page 26

       Term Project Report Write-Up Guide                                        page 27




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                             Expandable Polyurethane Foam
                                                     Activity One

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________         Name:       _________________________

I. Materials Required:
      1-     25 ml graduated waxed cup                                 1 - Tongue depressor
      1-     12 ounce waxed paper cup                                  A pair of disposable gloves
      1-     Can of ―A‖ (2 lbs.) polyurethane foam resin (Trichlorofluoromethane)
      1-     Can of ―B‖ (2 lbs.) polyurethane foam resin (Diphenylmethane diisocynate)
II. Assignments:
        1.   To mold a 12 ounce cup with expandable polyurethane foam.
        2.   To examine the structure of cured foam using band saw and visual inspection.
        3.   To understand a basic chemical reaction in a thermosetting process.
III. Procedure: (The following must be done at 70oF or higher)

      Manufacturing Process
      1.     Obtain materials.
      2.     Pour 15 ml of ―A‖ foam resin into graduated cup.
        NOTE: If too much is poured, take excess out with tongue depressor. Place all excess in trash can
                      - NEVER return Catalytic materials to their original containers.

      3.     Place the 15 ml of ―A‖ foam resin into a 12 ounce cup and use the tongue depressor to scrape all the
             resin into the cup. Avoid getting resin on the sides of the 12 ounce cup as this will make it difficult to
             mix.
      4.     Measure 15 ml of ―B‖ foam resin into a graduated cup.
      5.     Pour the 15 ml of ―B‖ foam resin into the 12 ounce cup containing 15 ml of ―A‖ resin. Use the tongue
             depressor to scrape all the ―B‖ resin into cup. Give your ―B‖ cup to another group for measuring their
             ―B‖ resin, or discard it. Do not leave it lying around.
      6.     Using the tongue depressor, mix the two resins in a figure eight fashion to insure thorough mixing.
             Place index finger on the bottom of the cup, while mixing, to feel for a temperature change. Take care
             that all the resin is mixed, especially around the corners of the bottom of the cup.
      7.     Keep mixing the two resins until a creamy tan color is reached and/or an increase in temperature is felt.
             Remove tongue depressor to avoid uneven foaming.
      8.     Set down cup and let resin foam, then cure for 20 minutes before examining.
      9.     Use band saw to cut through center of cup vertically.
      10.    Record your observations of the microstructure of the newly formed polyurethane in your lab book,
             along with any notes on the process and the result.

      Destructive Examination
      1.     Ignite the Bunsen burner under the chemical hood (making sure the hood is on !!!)
      2.     Place one of the two halves (polyurethane foam) in the flame.
      3.     Study the color of the flame, burning characteristics, and compare the microstructure of polyurethane
             before and after burning.
      4.     Record your observation and findings in your lab book.
      5.     Notify instructor when completed.
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                         Polymers Identification — Burn Test
                                                    Activity Two

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________         Name:       _________________________
The burn test is a quick, simple, and fairly accurate method of plastics material identification. Most plastics have
definite characteristics when exposed to flame. These include flammability (ease of lighting - self extinguishing or
self-sustaining), odor, nature of flame (color and presence or absence of smoke), and melt behavior (such as dripping,
swelling, charring, etc.).

Directions - Using the unknown plastic samples provided bring one end of the sample into the flame of a Bunsen
      burner. Be careful to avoid dripping molten plastic on yourself, table tops, or floors. Hold the strip just to the
      edge of the flame until you have a detectable burning result or for 10 seconds.

      Withdraw the plastic strip, holding it over a drip sheet, note and record in your notebook the character of the
      flame, drippings, smoke and possibility of carbon in the air. Extinguish the flame and cautiously smell the odor
      produced. Since the possibility of toxic fumes may exist, smell only for a short time and indirectly by waving
      your hand toward you through the vapors. Organize your observations in a neat table, then use the notes below
      to establish an identification of each sample. If you are not sure, discuss the findings with your classmates.

                                       Plastics Identification Burn Test
Remember that burning characteristics are altered by additives and reinforcements. Thus, these notes are
only general guidelines.

Thermoplastics

1.    A.B.S. - (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) - lights readily - does not self extinguish - odor characteristic 1 -
            yellow flame with blue edges, black sooty smoke - softens, drips, chars.
2.    Acetal -     lights moderately - does not self extinguish - formaldehyde odor - clean blue flame, no smoke -
            melts, drips, drippings may burn, slow burning.
3.    Acrylic - (Polymethlmethacrylate) - lights readily - does not self extinguish - fruit like odor - blue flame,
            yellow tip, crackles - softens, no drip, little char left, flame may spurt if rubber modified, molded acrylic
            drips, cast does not.
4.    Cellulose Acetate - lights readily - does not self extinguish – acetic acid, burned sugar odor or vinegar - dark
            yellow flame, some sooty black smoke - melts, drips, drippings continue to burn, slow burning, flame
            may spark.
5.    Cellulose Nitrate - lights very readily - burns fast, yellow-white flame, material burns completely- very little
            smoke - sharp wood-like (cellulose) odor.
6.    Nylon - lights moderately - self extinguishes - burned wool odor - blue flame, yellow tip - melts, drips, froths.
7.    Polyallomer - lights readily - does not self extinguish - stringent paraffin odor - yellow flame, blue bottom
            edge, black smoke - melts clear, spurts, drippings may burn, floats in water.
8.    Polycarbonate - difficult to light - self extinguishes - sweet carbon odor - yellow or orange flame, dense black
            smoke, carbon (soot) in the air - softens, spurts, chars, decomposes.
9.    Polyethylene - lights readily - does not self extinguish - burning paraffin odor - clean blue flame, yellow tip -
            melts, drips, drippings may burn, swells - floats in water.
10.   Polyphenylene Oxide (PPO) - phenol odor, yellow-orange flame, does not drip, flame spurts, very difficult to
            ignite.
11.   Polypropylene - lights readily - does not self extinguish - sweet burning paraffin odor - blue flame, yellow tip,
            some white smoke - melts, swells, drips, slow burning. Floats in water, denser than polyethylene.
12.   Polystyrene - lights readily - does not self extinguish - illuminating gas odor - orange-yellow flame, dense

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             smoke, clumps of carbon (soot) in air - softens, bubbles, drips, burns rapidly.
13.   Polysulfone - lights readily - does not self extinguish - pungent sulfur odor - orange flame, black smoke,
            sparkles, carbon in air - softens, drips - chars, decomposes.
14.   P.V.C. - (Polyvinyl Chloride) - difficult to light - self extinguishes - very strong hydrochloric acid - chlorine
            odor - yellow-flame, green on edges, spurts green and yellow, white smoke - softens, chars.
15.   Polytetralfluorethylene - will not ignite - faint odor of burnt hair - yellow flame, green near base - melts,
            bubbles, slight charring.
16.   Polyester (Thermoplastic) - lights readily - does not self extinguish - yellow flame - flame spurts black smoke -
            some carbon clumps - drips - drippings continue to burn - burning coal odor.

Thermosets
1.    Epoxy - lights readily - does not self extinguish - formaldehyde odor - yellow flame, spurts black      smoke -
           chars.
2.    Phenolic (Polyphenol formaldehyde) - very difficult to light - self extinguishes - strong formaldehyde odor -
           yellow flame, a little black smoke, sparks - cracks badly, chars, swells.
3.    Polyester (Thermoset) - lights moderately - does not self extinguish - burning coal odor - yellow flame, black
            smoke, burns steadily - softens, no drips, continues to burn.




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                                              Injection Molding
                                                       Activity Three

(Instructor’s Initials) _______      (Date Finished)   ______________         Name:       _________________________
I.       Materials Required:
                Injection molding machine and molds
                Mold release agent (spray can)
                ABS resin pellets
                LDPE resin pellets
                Acrylic resin pellets
II.      Assignments:
         1.     To learn how to operate machine while varying amount of material fed to barrel.
         2.     To find an adequate operating condition for several commonly used thermoplastic materials.
         3.     To produce four good parts (2 rounds and 2 squares) each of the given types of thermoplastics.
III.     Procedure: (One operator each time!)
         1.     Obtain materials and prepare molds by cleaning thoroughly with a wood stick.
         2.     Identify plastic material within the injection hopper as to grade, type and melt temperature.
         3.     Clear out all resin left in injection hopper, and clean up machine area. Verify that no thermosets are in
                the area.
         4.     Turn injection barrel heat and air on. Preset temperature at 550 oF and set air pressure to 65 psi.
         5.     When temperature of barrel has reached 550 oF, purge out remaining resin with the first resin you wish to
                use. These temperatures and pressures may need to be adjusted if good flow does not occur.
(Apply short burst of mold release on mold surfaces every 5 to 10 cycles.)
                                   DO NOT FLASH MOLD OR DAMAGE MAY RESULT.

         7.     Load hopper with resin and check whether you are getting a pure melt (no other resin or residue present).
         8.     Place mold under chamber nozzle and clamp in place.
         9.     Depress injector knob (pushes resin into mold) and keep mold clamped for some time.
         10.    Record and tabulate the operating conditions such as temperature, pressure, injection time, and clamp
                time for each part.
         11.    Remove mold and place in cold water to cool down.
         12.    Make necessary corrections in material feed, temperature, and/or air pressure until a completely full
                mold produces a part with minimal flash. Record all part defects and label all short shots.
         13.    Repeat steps 5 - 11, until you obtain four good parts from each resin.
         14.    To shut down, empty hopper and barrel. Turn off heat, then air.
SAFETY NOTE:
DO NOT leave the injection molding machine without cycling the plastics in the barrel or heat up machine with
ram in forward position.

         15.    Notify instructor when completed.
       NOTE:
        A.   Cycle operation: Each cycle starts at close the mold, inject the plastic material, retract the ram from the
             barrel, allow 10 seconds for part to cool and solidify, open mold and remove part.
         B.     If any problems arise, see trouble shooting below, or notify instructor immediately.
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   Trouble Shooting (or see instructor)

   a. Will not inject plastic
     1.     Feed unit inoperable - check to see if pellets are feeding into barrel.
     2.     Bridging occurring in barrel - punch pellets barrel with a wood stick with ram in back position. Make
            sure temperature is not too material feed is not excessive.
     3.     Frozen sprue - close mold partially and extrude plastic through sprue bushing. Remove excess with a
            wood stick and resume cycle.
   b. Parts are ejected hot
     1.     Cycle time too fast - allow longer mold close time for heat to dissipate from part.
     2.     Discolored parts - lower the temperature setting in barrel.
     3.     Flow marks shown on parts - clean mold surfaces and lower temperature of barrel.




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                                           Extrusion Molding
                                                     Activity Four

(Instructor’s Initials) _______    (Date Finished)   ______________          Name:      _________________________

I.     Equipment and Materials:
             Extrusion molding machine
             Razor knife
             Thermal gloves
             Thick copper wire
             Cold water bath
             Thermoplastic rubber beads
             LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) and HDPE beads

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To extrude 2 satisfactory rods of LDPE, HDPE and thermoplastic rubber materials.
       2.    To become familiarized with the controls and process of extrusion molding.

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Turn the master switch on, turn heater on and prepare a cold water bath.
       2.    Adjust the barrel and die heater switches and set the barrel temperature for 290 oF and the die for 300oF.
       3.    Open the hopper chute and feed hopper with several cups of LDPE (or HDPE or thermoplastic rubber)
             and use a metal rod to push resin into the chute.
       4.    Let the machine warm up BEFORE turning on the extruder.
NOTE:        Allow the temperatures to stabilize.
             DO NOT start the extruder motor until the temperature has reached a minimum of 275 oF.
       5.    When warm, turn the extruder on and wait for the parison to extrude down.
       6.    Allow the parison to extrude down and direct it into the cold water bath. Use razor knife to cut the
             cooled plastics at desired length (approx. 10 to 12 inches).
       7.    Trim off the flash with razor knife and inspect the cooled rod for the following items:
             a. crack in the rod                       b. surface uniformity

             c. thick and thin areas                   d. entrapped air bubbles or dirt

             e. surface gloss                          f. stiffness of rod

       8.    Repeat the molding process until receiving satisfactory parts.
       9.    Turn off extruder, empty the hopper and then increase temperature on extruder to 325 oF.
       10.   Turn on extruder and purge out LDPE and HDPE by thermoplastic rubber.
NOTE:        DO NOT leave polyethylene in the extruder.
             You may use a high melting point material such as thermoplastic rubber to purge it out.
       11.   Close the hopper chute.
       12.   Set the heaters to ―0‖.
       13.   Turn off the master switch.




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                                               Blow Molding
                                                    Activity Five

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________         Name:       _________________________

I.     Equipment and Materials:
             Flex blow molding machine (PM micrometer)
             Razor knife
             Thermal gloves
             Thick copper wire
             Cold water bath
             Alathon PE (Polyethylene) resin

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To extrusion blow mold 5 satisfactory bottles of Alathon PE with the Flex blow molding machine.
       2.    To become familiarized with the controls and process of blow molding.

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Turn machine on, turn water on and prepare a cold water bath.
       2.    Turn on the barrel and die heater switches and set the barrel temperature for 290 oF and the die to 280oF.
       3.    Open the hopper chute and feed hopper with several cups of Alathon PE and use a metal rod to push
             resin into the chute.
       4.    Set air pressure for the blow molder at 10 psi.
       5.    Let the machine warm up BEFORE turning on the extruder.
NOTE:        Allow the temperatures to stabilize.
             DO NOT start the extruder motor until the temperature has reached a minimum of 275 oF.
       6.    When warm, turn the extruder on and wait for the parison to extrude down.
       7.    Allow the parison to extrude down until the bottom of it passes the bottom of the blow mold (approx.
             1/2" lower than the mold). At this point close the mold halves and turn the blow mold switch on ―blow‖
             (turn air switch on).
       8.    After a count of 15 (or hold for 10 seconds) turn air switch off.
       9.    Open the mold halves and place the hot molded bottle in the cold water bath until cooled.
       10.   Trim off the flash with razor knife and inspect the bottle for the following items:
             a. crack in the seam                                        d. poor molding at the cap portion
             b. Thick and thin areas                                     e. surface gloss
             c. entrapped air bubbles
       11.   Repeat the molding cycle up to 5 times for 5 satisfactory parts.
       12.   Turn off extruder, empty the hopper and then increase temperature on extruder to 325oF and the die’s
             temperature to 300oF. Wait until proper temperature is reached before proceeding.
       13.   Turn on extruder and purge out the Alathon PE.
       14.   When finish, scoop out as much of the materials as you can and run the machine until no more material
             extruded out the die.
       15.   Close the hopper chute.
       16.   Set the heaters to ―0‖.


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     17.   Bring the panel air to ―0‖.
     19.   Turn off the master switch.
     20.   Bring the line air pressure down to ―0‖.
     21.   Leave the water on until the barrel temperature reaches 150 oF or below, then turn off the water.




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                                           Rotational Molding
                                                    Activity Six

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________        Name:       _________________________

I.     Equipment and Materials:
             Rotational molding machine and molds
             High density polyethylene powder (HDPE, rotational molding grade)
             Low density polyethylene powder (LDPE, rotational molding grade)
             Pigment powders
             Thermal gloves
             Spray mold release (mold release agent)
             Tub of water for cooling

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To produce one good part using pigment and material provided
       2.    To become familiarized with the controls and process of rotational molding

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Preheat rotational molding oven to 350oF.
       2.    Clean mold surface line with a wood stick or soft acrylic strip to assure adequate seal
       3.    Apply mold release sparingly to mold surfaces
       4.    Fill one half of the mold with approximately 80% LDPE and 1/4 teaspoon of powdered pigment and stir
             well to disperse color.
       5.    Close the mold halves (making sure vent is in proper location, if you are using an old mold).
       6.    Place masking tape around the flash area of the mold to prevent loss of resin.
       7.    When oven has reached desired temperature, bolt mold down on fixture in oven.
NOTE:        If two parts are being made, place the larger mold opposite the drive gear.
       8.    Start rotational molder and let run for 45 minutes.
       9.    Open the oven and turn off heat. Turn on the air and cool the molds down for 5 minutes while rotating.
       10.   Take molds out of oven and place in water bath to cool further.
NOTE:        Try not to cover vent hole with water for more than 3 seconds at a time
       11.   Separate mold and remove part carefully.
NOTE:        It may be necessary to strike the mold with a rubber mallet to get it to open;
             DO NOT damage the mold
       12.   Trim part with razor knife.
       13.   Inspect part for high heat discoloration, improper dispersion of pigment or other defects.
       14.   Repeat steps 2 - 13 using HDPE.
       15.   Reassemble mold halves with all screws and vent parts
       16.   Compare the finished products and record your findings.
       17.   Notify instructor when completed.




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                                          Plastisol Tool Dip
                                                    Activity Seven

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________       Name:       _________________________

I.     Materials Required:
             Can of plastisol (durometer 60)
             Can of organosol (durometer 90)
             Convection oven
             Molds (funnel mold and coin purse mold)
             Tools (which needs coated handles, e.g. pliers)
             Thermal gloves
             Bucket of cold water for cooling

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To dip cast one funnel (or coin purse) and one tool handle with plastisol or organosol.
       2.    To study how the thickness of a coated part varies with cooking time and temperature.
       3.    To understand thoroughly the process and the transformation from a liquid dispersion to a homogeneous
             solid in a dip cast molding

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Heat oven to 350oF
       2.    Prepare surface of part to be coated: funnel or coin purse mold should be free of residuals and sprayed
             with silicon mold release. Tool handles should be cleaned with acetone and slightly roughened with
             heavy grit sand paper. Make a wire holder for the pliers.
       3.    Preheat mold and pliers in the convection oven at 350 oF for 10 minutes (15 min. for heavy steel parts) or
             at 390oF for 5 minutes
       4.    Remove mold from oven and immerse in organosol for 60 seconds. Immerse tool handles in plastisol for
             approximately 30 seconds so coat does not get too thick.

                                                Hold steady, do not stir.
NOTE:        1. An organosol, similar to a plastisol, can be obtained by adding some diluent solvents to a plastisol
             to bring down viscosity.
             2. Plastisol is a solution of polyvinyl chloride particles suspended in a liquid plasticizer. A plasticizer
             can be called a poor solvent because upon heating the plasticizer swells the polyvinyl chloride
             particles which are closest to the mold surface thus causing a thick film of PVC particles covered with
             plasticizer. The thickness of the film depends               upon the rate of dissipation of heat from the
             mold through the plastisol. The more heat transfer, the more swelling of PVC particles, the thicker
             the coating.
       5.    Withdraw mold from organosol (or tool from plastisol) slowly and return it to the oven (350 oF) to cure
             for 5 - 10 minutes until PVC coating turns out glossy.
NOTE:        When the mold is returned to the oven the plastisol is still a solution of polyvinyl chloride particles
             and plasticizer, a much thicker solution yet still, if a post-cure was not completed the plastisol would
             have the consistency of icing on a cake. The post-cure causes the residual plasticizer to enter the
             polyvinyl chloride particles and makes them swell and fuse with other polyvinyl chloride particles
             thus becoming a homogeneous, durable membrane.
       6.    After post-cure, remove the mold from the oven and cool by immersion in water.
NOTE:        DO NOT be alarmed if the plastisol is smoking when removed from the oven. This is the excess
             surface plasticizer which is harmless to product quality and nontoxic in the small amounts which are

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           evident. If the mold is left too long in the oven a brown or amber discoloration will be observed. If
           the mold is not left in the oven long enough the PVC particles will not fuse and will tear apart. When
           a shear force is applied, a properly cured polyvinyl chloride membrane will have the toughness and
           elasticity of rubber gloves or elastomeric material.
     7.    Coin purse: Slit purse from mold using a razor knife
     8.    Notify instructor when completed.




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                     Thermoforming - Free Air Blow Forming
                                                    Activity Eight

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________        Name:       _________________________

I.     Equipment and Materials:
             Acrylic sheet (1/8" thick) cut to exact size of clamping frame
             Mold of wood yoke, Thermoformer, Thermal gloves, Radiant heater
II.    Assignments:
       1.    To blow form a disk, bowl, or other object using a precut template
       2.    To design an object of one’s idea and cut the template from 3/4" thick plywood

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Familiarize yourself with the operation of the major parts of the thermoforming equipment:
             a.     heating element (radiant heater)
             b.     clamping frame
             c.     plate height adjustment wheel
             d.     air pressure control
             e.     location of pressure vent
       2.    Compare the dimensions of your part with the dimensions of the clamping frame.
       3.    Adjust clamping frame so it will clear the yoke opening by 1/2" on all sides.
       4.    Measure clamping yoke and cut plastic sheet to the size approx. 17" x 12 1/2" x 1/8".
       5.    Place acrylic sheet on platen, yoke in position, and bring assembly up to clamping frame to check
             alignment.
       6.    A good seal between the wood yoke, acrylic sheet and plate is required. All three must be of even
             surface. Addition clamping pressure beyond the required sealing pressure (half turn on wheel after
             contact) will damage the thermoformer.
       7.    Preheat acrylic sheet with radiant heater.
NOTE:        Acrylic will rise before sagging, why?
       8.    Remove quickly from the heat source once plastic sheet is in a pliable state and place it between yoke
             and platen.
       9.    Bring assembly into contact with the frame and then rotate half turn of the wheel for seal (see step #6).
       10.   Turn air pressure slowly until movements of the plastic sheet begins. Only 14.7 psi is on the acrylic
             sheet so very little air pressure is needed to air blow form the plastics. Too much pressure will force the
             plastics into a bubble shape which, if too rapid, the acrylic will burst.
       11.   Hold air pressure until acrylic sheet is cooled.
       12.   Remove cooled part from thermoformer and trim to desired shape on a band saw and grinder.
       13.   Using a file, shave the trimmed edges so that no scratches can be seen.
       14.   Place buffing compound on buffer and buff trimmed edges horizontally to the buffing wheel. Buff until
             the plastics is free of scratches and all edges look clear.
       15.   Notify instructor when completed.




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                                             Vacuum Forming
                                                      Activity Nine

(Instructor’s Initials) _______     (Date Finished)   ______________        Name:       _________________________

I.     Equipment and Materials:
             Vacuum forming and mold
             Sheet of polystyrene (0.015 to 0.060 inch thick)
             Masking tape
             Thermal gloves
             Radiant heater

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To construct a mold and vacuum form one satisfactory part around it.
       2.    To become familiarized with the controls and process of vacuum forming.

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Build a mold out of wood making sure all edges are tapered so it can be easily removed from the vacuum
             formed part. Be sure to fine sand this mold or defects and grains will appear on final product.
       2.    Check the following:
             a.     the bottom of mold must be flat and parallel with the top surface
             b.     vacuum port holes (size of a 1/64" drill) must be clear
             c.     the outside dimensions of the mold must be smaller than the dimensions of the clamp frame.
       3.    Place mold on platen and center over the vacuum port.
       4.    Use masking tape around the bottom outside of mold and platen to assure an adequate seal.
       5.    Turn on vacuum valve and listen or feel for vacuum at mold port holes.
NOTE:        If no vacuum is present check with your instructor. Turn off vacuum after the test.
       6.    Measure the dimensions of clamping frame and cut plastic sheet to approx. 1/2" overlap on all frame
             sides.
       7.    Place plastic sheet into clamp frame and adjust four hold down points to equalize pressure on plastic
             material.
       8.    Swing heating panel over the plastic and bring it to a pliable state.
NOTE:        BE SURE MOLD IS ALL THE WAY DOWN!!!
       9.    When sheet is ready, remove heating panel, and quickly slide clamp frame down over vacuum port (also
             in contact with mold) and apply vacuum immediately. As the plastic takes the contour of the mold, push
             the area where the suction is poor with your fingers
NOTE:        WEAR THERMAL GLOVES TO PREVENT FROM GETTING BURNED!!!
       10.   Maintain vacuum until plastic sheet has cooled.
       11.   Turn off vacuum, open clamp and remove part from mold
       12.   Trim part if needed.
       13.   Notify instructor when completed.




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                                     Fabrication with Acrylic
                                                    Activity Ten

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________        Name:       _________________________

I.     Materials Required:
             Acrylic sheet (limit - one sheet 1/4" thick by 12" x 12")
             Solvent cement (methylene chloride) or laminating cement (bodied acrylic cement)
             Sandpaper: 220, 600 grit
             Buffing wheel (less than 1800 RPM)
             Buffing compound (polishing rouge)
             L-shaped ruler
             Table saw (with carbide tipped blade)
             Files
             Masking tapes
             Strip heater (approx. 260oF)

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To learn the process of solvent bonding thermoplastics.
       2.    To produce a satisfactory (good workmanship) acrylic product that has a minimum of one cemented
             joint and one bend.

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Leaving masking paper in place, mark and cut out all pieces.
NOTE:        If you do not know how to use the power cutting equipment, ask your instructor BEFORE using it.
             Also, if you need small parts for your project, check the scrap box, do not cut them from a large sheet.
       2.    Smooth all edges using the jointer, back of a hack saw blade, file (optional) or sandpaper. Begin with
             220 grit sandpaper and work down to a 600 grit. Edges that will be bonded do not need to be sanded
             below a 220 grit.
       3.    Polish edges that will show with a light pressure to the buffing wheel. Polish on right side wheel with
             polishing rouge first, then move to the left side wheel for cleaning and final buffing.
NOTE:        DO NOT use ROUGE on left side cleaning wheel!!! Hand drill buffers also available.
       4.    Remove paper and heat pieces on strip heater. Allow to heat for approximately 10 minutes (or until
             pliable). Bend over edge of table or free hand. Quarter inch or thicker pieces should be turned over
             after 3 minutes to heat evenly on both sides.
       5.    Assemble your product without bonding using masking tape or spring clamps. Check to be sure all
             pieces will fit well.
       6.    Two types of cement are available for use:
             a.     Solvent Cement (Methylene Chloride) may be applied by needle applicator or brush. Capillary
                    action will draw the solvent into the joint and dissolve both edges. When solvent evaporates
                    (approx. 2 min.) the joint will be set. Some acrylics are tempered and will not be dissolved by
                    this solvent. To avoid tempered acrylic apply a few drops of solvent to face of piece and rub
                    gently with your finger to see if acrylic has been attacked. Acrylic which is tempered will not be
                    blemished by the solvent.
             b.     Bodied Acrylic Cement is thick must be applied by squeeze tube. It is stronger than solvent
                    cement, especially where edges or joint do not fit exactly. Clamp joint if possible. Allow joint to
                    dry for 15 minutes before toughing and overnight before full strength will be obtained.
       7.    Notify instructor when completed.


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                                      Compression Molding
                                                    Activity Eleven

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________       Name:       _________________________

I.    Equipment and Materials:
             Compression molding machine and mold
             Spray can of mold release agent
             Phenol formaldehyde powder (black) 70-75 grams
             Phenol formaldehyde powder with inhibitor (red) 70-75 grams
             Thermal gloves
             Face shield
             Lifting tool (F shape)

II.   Assignments:
      1.     To identify and select thermosetting molding materials.
      2.     To produce two satisfactory parts (pipe flanges)
      3.     To become familiarized with the controls and process of compression molding.

III. Procedure:
      1.     Turn machine power on (push the lever switch attached on the side of control panel downward).
             Turn hydraulic pump on.
      2.     Set the temperature gages of compression molder to 360 oF. Turn the heater switches on.
      3.     Clean mold halves using compressed air and spray with mold release agent.
      4.     Weigh out 70-75 grams of phenolic powder (black).
NOTE:        If it is a wet/humid day, dry out powder in an oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 120 oF.
      5.     Lower compression platen and fill the mold half with the weighted out phenolic powder.
NOTE:        Wear thermal gloves, and distribute phenolic powder evenly with a brass rod and level with parting
             line on cavity side of mold half.
      6.     Raise the compression platen to close the mold. Make sure mold is aligned properly.

                                          DO NOT exceed stroke of press.
      7.     Depress the pressure button until the pressure indicator shows there is 1700 psi pressure applied to the
             mold. Wait for 30 seconds and immediately release the pressure to free entrapped gases in the mold.
      8.     Reapply pressure to 1700 psi and then release it again after 30 second duration. (repeat step 7)
      9.     Reapply the same pressure to the mold and hold it for approximately 10 minutes.
      10.    Lower compression platen and remove part with the brass rod and F-shaped lifting tool.


SAFETY NOTE: Be sure to wear thermal gloves and protective face shield during the removal of finished part.
         Be careful at all times not to mark up (damage) the inside wall of the mold.
      11.    Repeat steps 3 - 10 using the red phenolic powder.
      12.    To shut down, empty mold halves (carefully clean the mold cavity using brass rod and compressed air).
             Turn off two heater switches and hydraulic pump. Raise the lever switch on the control panel upward to
             horizontal position.
      13.    Let parts cool until they can be handled using bare hands.

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     14.   Trim off flash with a file and then sand all rough edges using a belt sander.
     15.   Examine part for gloss finish and dense inner core. (To examine part, cut part in half and look for any
           cracks, air pockets, loose structure, or uneven thickness. Compare parts made from different types of
           phenolic powders)
     16.   Record your observation and notify instructor when completed.




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                             Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester
                                                    Activity Twelve

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________         Name:       _________________________

I. Materials Required:
              Fiberglass cloth and mat (cut to size)
              Polyester laminating resign
              Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP) catalyst—READ CAUTION!
              Clipboard mold for flat laminate (motorcycle fender optional)
              Colored cotton fabric or gel coat (optional)
              Mixing container (3 oz. paper cups)
              Wax mold release
              1 inch pain brush
              Stir sticks and trim knife
              3 x 5 plastic squeegee (polyethylene)
              5 cc measure container
              Acetone for cleanup

II. Assignments:
      1.      To produce one satisfactory part using the clipboard mold, fender mold, or mold of your choice.
      2.      To become familiarized with the process of laminating fiberglass reinforced plastics.

III. Procedure:
      1.      Prepare the molding surface by cleaning and applying a coat of mold release wax. Wait 10 minutes then
              buff to a high gloss.
      2.      If clipboard part or fender is to have a solid color surface skip down to ―gel coating procedure‖ and
              follow instructions, otherwise continue on to #3.
      3.      Precut 2 pieces of 6 oz. fiberglass cloth and 2 pieces of 1 1/2 oz. fiberglass mat to overlap approx. 1/2"
              on all sides of clipboard mold.
      4.      Lay down paper to protect table top and lay out all materials.
      5.      Pour laminating resin into several 3 oz. paper cups.
      6.      Consult catalyst measuring chart and mix 2% by weight MEKP catalyst into one of the small cups of
              resin. Catalyze each cup only when needed. 2% yields approximately 15 minutes of working time.
              Decrease catalyst if more time is needed. 2% equals approximately 4 drops per oz.
           *********************************************************************************
             CAUTION—MEKP, Polyester Resin and Acetone are very toxic and should not come into
              contact with skin. Safety glasses must be worn and plastic gloves are available for use.
           *********************************************************************************
      7.      Apply a thin coat of catalyzed polyester resin to the mold surface. Push the glass cloth down into the thin
              layer of polyester resin. A color change from white to clear will take place as the cloth becomes fully
              saturated. Bubbles may be eliminated by dabbing with a brush or by use of a polyethylene squeegee.
NOTE:         The object of the polyester resin reinforcement is to push all the air out of the mat or cloth and
              replace it with polyester resin. If the cloth or mat is placed first on the mold surface and the polyester
              resin poured over the glass, then much of the air will be trapped in between the mold surface and the
              resin saturated glass membrane. These entrapped air bubbles are difficult if not impossible to
              remove. Air voids weaken the laminate and reduce strength and dimensional stability. Excess resin
              will only add weight, brittleness and reduce strength.
      8.      Apply the remaining layers of fiberglass in the same manner as #7. Apply the two layers of matte and

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           finish with a layer of fiberglass cloth being sure to eliminate all air bubbles.
     9.    Clean brushes in acetone then rinse with soap and water. (return to instructor).
     10.   Allow part to begin cure. When laminate reaches a leather hard B-stage trim to edge of mold with a
           razor blade.
     11.   Allow part to cure overnight.
     12.   Remove part from mold. Trim in band saw if needed and seal the trimmed edge with a thin coat of
           polyester resin.
     13.   Notify instructor when completed.


GEL COATING PROCEDURE:
           Gel coat is a polyester resin with pigment and other additives. The gel coat is catalyzed like regular
           polyester resin (see step #6) and applied to the mold in a fairly thick coating (15 to 25 mils). Allow to
           cure overnight. Return to step #3 and proceed with instructions.




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                Laminate Processing — Matched-Die Molding
                                                 Activity Thirteen

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________       Name:       _________________________

I.     Materials Required:
             Fiberglass cloth and graphite cloth (cut to size)
             Epoxy and polyester laminating resign
             Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP) catalyst
             Polypropylene powder
             Aluminum mold
             Mixing container (3 oz. paper cups)
             Mold release agent
             1 inch pain brush
             Stir sticks and trim knife
             3 x 5 plastic squeegee (polyethylene)
             5 cc measure container
             Acetone for cleanups

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To produce one satisfactory composite laminate using the hot laminating press.
       2.    To become familiarized with the processing of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic and thermoset composites

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Prepare the molding surface by cleaning and applying a coat of mold release agent.
       2.    Preheat the press platens to the melt temperature (approx. 300oC).
       3.    Lay down 30 layers (depending on the depth of mold cavity) of either fiberglass or graphite cloth in the
             aluminum mold cavity and separate them by resins (Do not add resins to prepregs).
       4.    Place aluminum mold between the platens and apply a contact pressure of 1,000 psi. and then increase
             the pressure to 3,000 psi.
       5.    Heat the stack for 30 minutes and apply a consolidation pressure to 4,000 psi.
       6.    Cool the panel rapidly at a minimum speed of 10 oC/min. to achieve the proper degree of crystallinity.
       7.    Carefully remove the composite laminate from the mold.




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                     Repairing Composite Structural Damage
                                                 Activity Fourteen

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)   ______________       Name:       _________________________

I.     Materials Required:
             Fiberglass cloth or mat (for most repairs, 1 1/2 to 2-ounce mat is recommended)
             Epoxy adhesive and hardener; polyester laminating resign
             Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP) catalyst
             Polyester body filler
             Mixing container (3 oz. paper cups)
             Sandpaper and sanding disks (24- to 80-grit and 240- to 600-grit)
             1 inch pain brush
             Stir sticks and trim knife
             3 x 5 plastic squeegee (polyethylene)
             5 cc measure container
             Acetone for cleanups
             Air motor or electric drill with sanding attachment and burr bit
             Sanding block
             Orbital or flat reciprocating sander
             C-clamps, or equivalent holding devices
             Files
             Scissors
             Goggles and respirator
             Plastic separating film
             Mirror glaze grade 1, 3, 7, 11 etc.

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To identify the major problems which are encountered in composite structural repairs.
       2.    To become familiarized with the principal methods for composite damage repair.
NOTE:        If composite structural damage is suspected, the following steps should be carefully followed:
       1.    Detect the damage
       2.    Define the extent of the damage
       3.    Calculate the effects that the damage may have on the use of the part
       4.    Specify the repair procedure
       5.    Do the repair
       6.    Evaluate the effect of the repair


III.   Repairing Cosmetic Damage

       Preparatory steps:
       1.    Check lab temperature and humidity and compare with recommendations on resin can label. Normal
             room temperature and humidity are usually specified: 70 oF (21oC) and 70% humidity are considered
             ideal.
       2.    Gather required tools and materials
       3.    Clean the damaged area, both outside and inside, with wax remover. Then inspect the area closely
       4.    Push on the area around and underneath the damage to determine just how extensive the damage it is.


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     Repair procedures:
     1.    Using a burr bit on a power drill, rout a V-groove along the length of the scratch or gouge. Do not taper
           the sides of the V more than 45 degrees. Do not cut through the laminate.
Caution: Wear goggles and respirator when cutting, grinding, or sanding.
     2.    Remove flaky edges and feather the surface back about 1/2 inch (13mm) beyond the damaged area by
           hand-sanding or power-sanding with 240-grit sandpaper.
     3.    Clean the area with a dry cloth or compressed air.
     4.    Mask off the undamaged surface leaving a work area of approximately 5 inches (125 mm) around the
           repair area.
     5.    Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix enough polyester body filler to reestablish the surface.
     6.    Apply and spread filler with a plastic squeegee, making sure you remove large air bubbles. Extend filler
           above original surface to allow for shrinkage.
     7.    Let filler set up until it is rubbery, but not fully hardened. Then reestablish original contour by planing
           or filing off excess, still leaving the filler level slightly higher than the original surface.
     8.    Shrink filler with a heat gun or heat lamp. A minimum temperature of 120 oF (49oC) is required for
           shrinkage.
Caution: Keep heat gun at least 12 inches (300 mm) away from repair area.
     9.    Power-sand the filler with 360-grit sandpaper until it is smooth and even with the original surface.
     10.   If the filler is slightly porous (has fine pinholes), apply a thin coat of mirror glaze and cure it under heat
           gun or lamp.
     11.   Finish by sanding with a sand block and 480-grit sandpaper.
     12.   Complete the repair by cleaning the area with compressed air. Remask, if necessary, then spot prime,
           wet-sand slightly, and paint.

     Repairing Structural Damage
           The following procedures are used for repairing damage to a composite laminate such as hairline cracks,
           large and small fractures, and punctures.
           All structural repairs require backing patches or backup strips. A backing patch serves two functions:
           1.)    It provides the foundation to build and form the exterior surface;
           2.)    It provides the strength to keep a repair intact.
NOTE:      A repaired laminate must be as strong as the original material surrounding it. If it is not, the repair
           will not last and will generally crack around the edge — due to stress concentration. To compensate
           for the difference in elasticity of the backing patch and that of the original laminate, the backing
           patch must be thicker than the original. The minimum backing patch thickness, therefore, must be
           greater than the thickness of the original by 25%.

     Preparation of a Backing Patch:
     1.    Cut a piece of a plastic separating film (e.g. polyvinyl alcohol, cellophane, polyethylene, mylar
           [polyester film], or kapton [polyimide film]) large enough to extend approximately 3 inches (76mm)
           beyond the edge of the repair area. Tape the film to the outside of the repair surface.
     2.    Cut the required pieces of glass fiber or graphite fiber cloth (or mat) large enough to extend 2 inches (50
           mm) beyond the edge of the damage.
     3.    Apply some mixed polyester resin and MEKP to the working area of the separating film.
     4.    Saturate the piece(s) of cloth or mat with resin mixture, and lay up the piece(s) of resin-soaked cloth or
           mat on the separating film.
     5.    Allow the patch to harden; then pop it off and remove the separating film.

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The backing patch is now available to repair the various types of damage described as follows.

      Hairline Cracks and Structural Fractures:
      1.     Perform the preparatory steps given on page 2 of this lab instruction sheets and gather the needed tools
             and materials described under the section ―Materials Required‖ on page 1.
      2.     Using a tapered bit or saber saw, remove the cracked and flaked fibers until the crack is at least 1/8 inch
             (3 mm) wide.
CAUTION: Remember to wear goggles, respirator and long sleeve shirt or shop coat when cutting, grinding, or
         sanding.
      3.     If the panel is out of alignment, realign it with clamping devices such as C-clamps.
      4.     Mask off undamaged surface, leaving a working area of approximately 5 inches (125 mm) around the
             crack.
      5.     Prepare a backing patch according to the aforementioned steps (see page 3)
      6.     Working from the outside and using a file or grinder, taper the edged of the crack 45 degrees.
      7.     Remove flaky edges and feather the surface back about 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) beyond the damaged area by
             hand-sanding or pow-sanding, with 240- and 320-grit sandpaper. Clean the area with a dry cloth or air.
      8.     Sand the underside of the repair area with 120- or 180-grit sandpaper to create a rough bonding surface
             approximately 2 inches (50.8 mm) from the center of the crack.
      9.     Trim the backing patch. Then sand the mating surface of the backing patch with the same grit sandpaper
             used in step 8, checking for smooth fit to the underside. Clean all surfaces with a dry cloth or air.
      10.    Hold the backing patch in position under the damaged area. Mark its location relative to the underside
             of the panel. Outline the outer edge of the damaged area on the patch. This will give you a reference
             point when applying the polyester resins.
      11.    Determine a way of holding the backing patch in place; C-clamps, vise, etc., and test it.
      12.    Mix polyester resin with MEKP according to instructions.
      13.    Spread the resins on underside of repair area and patch. Try not to get resins on the area under the
             groove. Press patch in place until polyester resins squeeze out from all edges.
      14.    Hold the backing patch with clamps and allow the resins to harden for the time given in the
             manufacturer’s instructions.
      15.    Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix enough polyester body filler to reestablish the surface.
      16.    Apply the filler into the tapered crack with a squeegee. Make sure voids air bubbles are removed.
      17.    Now, shrink the filler with a heat gun or heat lamp. A minimum temperature of 120 oF (49oC) is required
             for shrinkage.
NOTE:        Keep the heat source at least 12 inches (300 mm) away from the repair area.
      18.    Power-sand the filler with 360-, 400-, and 600-grit sandpaper until it is smooth and even with original
             surface. (If the filler is slightly porous, apply a thin coat of mirror glaze)
      19.    Notify instructor when completed.




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                                  Filament Winding Process
                                                    Activity Fifteen

(Instructor’s Initials) _______   (Date Finished)    ______________       Name:        _________________________

I.     Materials Required:
             Glass and graphite fiber spools
             Epoxy and polyester laminating resign
             Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide (MEKP) catalyst
             Mixing container (3 oz. paper cups)
             Mold release agent
             1 inch pain brush
             Stir sticks and trim knife
             5 cc measure container
             Acetone for clean-up
             PVC gloves

II.    Assignments:
       1.    To produce one satisfactory composite tube, spherical pressure vessel, or conical rocket motor case using
             the filament winding machine.
       2.    To become familiar with the processing of filament winding method.

III.   Procedure:
       1.    Select a hollow plastic or wood tube (or rod) intended for the mandrel.
       2.    Prepare the molding surface of the mandrel by cleaning and applying a thick coating of mold release
             agent.
       3.    Check fiber spools and make sure there are free of fiber entanglements and ease of pulling.
       4.    Turn on the filament winding machine (the ON switch is located at lower left corner of the control panel)
             and set rotational speed at 7.
       5.    Depress the button of REVERSE or FORWARD on top of the panel to determine the rotating direction
             of the mandrel and shift the switch of REVERSE or FORWARD to the reverse or forward position to
             move the carriage forward or backward (making sure the switch is pointing at RUN not at JOG).
       6.    Push and hold the RUN button to dry run the machine until you are familiar with the operation of the
             machine (Depress the STOP button to stop the process).
       7.    Feed fibers (from fiber spools or creels) through empty resin bath tank and resin wiping device into
             carriage and tie a knot on mandrel.
       8.    Repeat steps 5 and 6 to dry run the filament winding machine with fibers using the micrometer located
             under the control panel to change the fiber winding angles.
       9.    Prepare resin with curing agent (A rule of thumb is each roving should be under the resin surface level
             for 1/3 to 1/2 sec. and a line moving at 60 m/min. or 200 ft/min.) making sure the viscosity of resin mix
             is appropriate and not to cure too fast. Pour resin mix into resin bath tank.
       10.   Repeat steps 5 and 6 to wind wet fibers on the mandrel until the desired thickness is reached.
       11.   Stop the machine, remove fiber spools and clean the resin bath tank thoroughly.
       12.   Notify instructor when completed.




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                         Laboratory Report Write-Up Guide

In this semester you need to perform fourteen directed labs in class. Upon completion of each lab you must
submit a three to four-page lab report to the instructor. The deadline for each lab report is EXACT ONE
WEEK after the lab completion date. A penalty (usually 50% deduction of the total points) will be applied
to a late report. The report must follow the APA style manual and contain the following sections:
       1.    Lab Objectives (DO NOT copy from lab assignments; use your own words)
      2.    Application of the Process and/or Materials (List some process and material application
            examples used in industry)
      3.    Experimental Results (including your observation, equipment operating settings for each
            material and examination of finished products)
      4.    Conclusions (discuss your findings along with some important factors or parameters that have
            affected the process and the products, or talk about troubleshooting, failure analysis, etc.)
      5.    References or Appendices (sketches, drawings, or short articles to support your lab report, if
            applicable)

ALL reports must be typed, double-spaced, on unlined paper.
Do not use a cover page or a cover of any kind. Format the paper as shown and discussed, and staple in the
top left corner.
The top of the first page will have the following information in the format shown as follows:


Tech 143                                                                             Your Group Number
Polymers & Composites Technology                                                            Your names
                                                                                               The Date


                                        Lab Title: ........................
                                       Laboratory Report Number




Lab Objectives:
      The text of the first section of your report begins here........




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                       Term Project Report Write-Up Guide

Your final project must be of your own design and not from another idea source. The project should be
made primarily out of polymeric materials, using at least two lab processes learned in the lab, and must be
totally completed by the due date. The due date will be determined in class.


The report will contain the following sections:


      1.    Statement of the Problem (Motivation)
      2.    List of Tools and Materials Used
      3.    Manufacturing Processes and Procedure
      4.    Cost Analysis for Prototype and Production
      5.    Summary and Conclusions of the Project
      6.    Dimensioned technical Sketches or CAD drawings (extra credit)
      7.    Working Production Drawing
      8.    Appendices or References (if applicable)


The report must be typed, double-spaced, and printed neatly with a cover page as discussed in class.
The report and the project constructed will be graded as a complete presentation. Both must be excellent to
earn an “A” grade! The product you produce will be graded on the following criteria:
      Sophistication
      Complexity
      Care and detail in design (this will also be reflected in the documentation)
      Excellence and care in process and execution
A product does not have to be both complex and sophisticated. For example, less complicated products
will need to be more sophisticated in design and execution in order to earn a strong grade.




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