The use of birefringence for predicting the stiffness of injection molded polycarbonate discs



Polycarbonate discs were injection molded with different sets of molding conditions. The parameters studied were the flow rate, melt- and mold-temperature. The discs were subjected to three point support flexural tests. Those tests are specially intended for injection molded discs because of their inherent non-flatness. The through-thickness molecular orientation was assessed by birefringence measurements along and across the flow direction using the wedge method. This method is ideal to measure the birefringence of materials that are difficult to cut with a microtome. The through-thickness stiffness of the discs was calculated from the measured birefringence distributions. A composite model of the disc was used in the Algor finite element method (FEM) package to simulate the flexural tests.