In a new process, a metal insert is partially premolded and then overmolded using conventional technology with traditional plastics used for housings. In the premolding ptocess, conductive paths are affixed in place, and are also tightly sealed in one step. Application targets are sophisticated automotive mechatronic parts such as transmission and brake controls, sensors and plug-in connectors. A key new material is a nonreinforced copolyamide that overmolds the electrical conductive paths in electronic components, ensuring there is no contact with moisture or oil. According to a technical expert at BASF, the material’s developer, the polymer adheres very well to either metals or plastics. To compensate, other sealing methods, such a silicon adhesives or hot melts, were used. Some engineers even precoated metals to improve adhesion
NIST's new five-year strategic plan for its Material Measurement Laboratory lists additive manufacturing materials development as one of the main areas it will support by developing measurements, data, techniques, and models.
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