What is Smart Susceptor Technology?
All magnetic metals have a “CURIE” temperature. The Curie temperature is the temperature at which the metal become non-magnetic. When magnetic metals are placed in an induction heating field, they heat inductively until they reach the Curie temperature and it stops heating (generally speaking). In addition, Temper has the ability to control this temperature variation over complex geometries.
Imagine just being able to only heat the specific tooling mass is in contact with the part to be formed. The heat only goes where its needed and precisely to the desired temperature.
So to visualize what this new molding process would look like, imagine a part to be molded. Now think of just the areas of the mold that would touch the part to be molded. If you were to go down into the lower mold half 3 mm and up into the upper mold half 3 mm, and throw the rest of the mold away. You would essentially have two shells that encompass the part to be consolidated. Now think of the two 3mm thick shell, and the material that they are made from. If these shells were made of smart susceptor material, and placed in a magnetic field, the shells would only inductively heat to the predetermined molding temperature and stop heating. If any portion of the shell were to drop in temperature, it just begins reheating. In addition, because the mass of the mold has been reduced by an order of 2 magnitudes, the it cools fast. Quench rates of 50 deg C / second have been recorded.
Molding part cycle times range from 3 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the material thickness, and the type of smart susceptor tooling.
Smart susceptor technology comes in many forms. Referenced above is hard tool molding process as used in consolidating thermoplastics, such as PPS, PEEK and PEKK. This technology can also be used for fabrication of thermoset plastics and can be used for debulking blankets, repair blankets and co-bonding applications.