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injection molding (RIM) involves the high-speed mixing of two or
more reactive chemicals,
such as prepolymers, as an integral part of injecting them
into a mold.
The mixture flows into the mold at relatively low temperature, pressure
and viscosity. Curing occurs in the mold, again at relatively low temperature
and pressure. The entire process, from mixing to
demolding, typically takes less than a minute.
RIM has resulted in lighter replacements for structural steel,
as strong and resilient plastics of the kind found in car bumpers and
other shock-resistant or shock-absorbing products.
technology brings substantial cost savings to automobile owners through
repair and insurance costs and reduced fuel consumption.
Public benefits accrue from reduced air pollution as well. NSF has supported
RIM research since the 1970s, when much of the DOD's network of university-based
Materials Research Laboratories was transferred to NSF. In the 1980s,
software developed by an NSF-supported researcher proved to be a commercial
success. Union Carbide, DOD and NASA also provided support.