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Irregular Shape Effect of Brass and Copper Filler on the Properties of Metal Epoxy Composite (MEC) for Rapid Tooling Application

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  • Radhwan Hussin
  • Safian Sharif
  • Shayfull Zamree Bin Abd Rahim
  • Allan Rennie
  • Mohd Azlan Suhaimi
  • Abdellah El-hadj Abdellah
  • Norshah Afizi Shuaib
  • Mohd Tanwyn Mohd Khushairi
  • Aurel Mihail Titu
Article number134
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/11/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Manufacturing and Materials Processing
Issue number6
Number of pages22
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Due to their low shrinkage and easy moldability, metal epoxy composites (MEC) are recognized as an alternative material that can be applied as hybrid mold inserts manufactured with rapid tooling (RT) technologies. Although many studies have been conducted on MEC or reinforced composite, research on the material properties, especially on thermal conductivity and compressive strength, that contribute to the overall mold insert performance and molded part quality are still lacking. The purpose of this research is to investigate the effect of the cooling efficiency using MEC materials. Thus, this research aims to appraise a new formulation of MEC materials as mold inserts by further improving the mold insert performance. The effects of the thermal, physical, and
mechanical properties of MEC mold inserts were examined using particles of brass (EB), copper (EC), and a combination of brass + copper (EBC) in irregular shapes. These particles were weighed at percentages ranging from 10% to 60% when mixed with epoxy resin to produce specimens according to related ASTM standards. A microstructure analysis was made using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to investigate brass and copper particle distribution. When filler composition was increased from 10% to 60%, the values of density (g/cm3), hardness (Hv), and thermal conductivity (W/mK) showed a linear upward trend, with the highest value occurring at the highest filler composition percentage. The addition of filler composition increased the compressive strength, with the highest average compressive strength value occurring between 20% and 30% filler composition. Compressive strength indicated a nonlinear uptrend and decreased with increasing composition by more than 30%. The maximum value of compressive strength for EB, EC, and EBC was within the range of 90–104 MPa, with EB having the highest value (104 MPa). The ANSYS simulation software was used to conduct a transient thermal analysis in order to evaluate the cooling performance of the mold inserts. EC outperformed the EB and EBC in terms of cooling efficiency based on the results of thermal transient analysis at high compressive strength and high thermal conductivity conditions.