MATETPRO - Matériaux et Procédés pour Produits Performants

Multiscales texturation of polymer surface by laser structuring of the injection moulds: application of this technology to the polymer systems of drug delivery – TOPOINJECTION


Multi-scale topographic texturing of polymer parts by laser-structuring of injection molds : Application of the technology to the polymer parts used in medical supplies.

Objectives of the TOPOINJECTION project

The aim of this project is to define an innovative process allowing the texturing of the surface of injected polymer parts on different scales. These processes will be made possible by the deposit of functional coating on the surface of the injection mold. This step will be followed, or preceded, by a femto-second laser microstructuration. The setting of this study is mainly centered on the medical industry, with the ability to propose innovative solutions in regard with system delivering medication to the patient (e.g. syringes…). However, the expected results will have a much larger field of application such as the biomedical industry or in other field of activity (automotive, aeronautics). In fact, these textured surfaces on plastic parts can be of use for its tactile functionality along with its visual appearance, in connection with cognitive science.<br />The concomitant scientific objectives concern the modeling of different phases of the injection process (molten polymer in the mold completely filling the imprint, solidification, and ejection) while keeping in mind the surface interaction between the mold and the polymer.<br />These ambitious objectives require the set up of technologies that will allow the creation of nano-structures or micro-milled surfaces, going way beyond any morphology or sizes currently available in the plastic industry. These objectives will also require the development of an experimental simulator along with an innovative digital calculus code.

We have organized the TopoInjection project in 4 distinct tasks each divides in sub-tasks. Independently of the 1rst task which deals with the managing of the project (Sub-task 1.1) along with the valorization of the results (Sub-task 1.2), the project is structured around 3 main scientific focuses which define the tasks and sub-tasks, which are strongly cross linked with each other:
• The first axe deals with the study of the polymers (Sub-task 2.4), the chemical structuring (sub-task 2.1) and the topographic structuring of the surface finish of the molds along with a phenomenological modeling of the laser-matter interaction relating to our subject (ultra-short pulse laser, coated molds… Sub task 2.3).
• The second axe deals with a simulated plastic injection process (Task 3) with both a phenomenological (Sub-task 3.2) and numerical simulation perspective (Sub-task 3.1).
• The final axe consists of manufacturing micro-structured polymer part (Task 4) on an industrial-type installation, with a view to manufacture test parts of simple or complex geometry.
Our optimization approach of the injection process will be carried out in accordance with multiple interactive talks between the simulation, the elaboration and the characterization. So, task 4 is as much as an implementation of the results of the Task 2 & 3 than a mean of validating the models and provides them with entry data. In order to promote this interdisciplinary, the different partners participate in multiple tasks to give them the mean to propose new ideas in a task or sub-task which was given to them in accordance with their field of expertise wherever they are located in the project. This take on the project is made easier by the pluridisciplinarity of the partners that make up the consortium, and the experience gathered in their collaborations.

The main results that we have achieved in the 18 months of projects are:
• The production of a fully instrumented mold. In situ monitoring of pressure and temperature in different location inside of the imprint.
• The impact of the injection parameters on a wide panel of polymers. Determination of the material-process interactions in relation with the process of structuring the polymer.
• The realization of pioneering laser beams for the milling of patterns by shaping the beam.
• The creation of an innovative digital calculus code, allowing a simulation of the filling of the mold cavity with taking into consideration the multi-scale structuring.

Futur prospect
The future scientific prospects of the project are:
• The study on the type of coating on the behavior of the mold and its interaction with the polymer.
• The in situ monitoring of the interactions between the polymer, the mold, and the texture.
• The digital modeling of the various phases of the injection molding and the identification with the experimental results.
Finally, a competence transfer on an industrial production line will be considered.

Effects of injection parameters on the replication quality of multiscale features obtained by femtosecond Laser, A.-C. Brulez, M. Larochette, J. Vera, S. Benayoun, Polymer Replication on Nanoscale, PRN, 18-19/5/15, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Influence of the polypropylene structure to control the replication of nanostructures by injection molding, J. Vera, A.-C. Brulez, E. Contraires, M. Larochette, S. Valette, S. Benayoun, PRN,18-19/5/15, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Development of an instrumented mold for the replication of textured surfaces by injection molding: optimization of the replication quality, M. Larochette, A.-C. Brulez, J. Vera, S. Benayoun, PRN, 18-19/5/15, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Controlled wettability of PP nanostructured surfaces replicated by injection molding, J. Vera, A.-C. Brulez, E. Contraires, M. Larochette, S. Valette, S. Benayoun, European Polymer Congress, 21-26/6/15, Dresden, Germany.
Advances in spatial shaping of ultrafast laser beam for enhanced surface processing of materials« C. Mauclair (invité), FemtoMat, Mauterndorf, Autriche, 4/15
Influence des paramètres de mise en oeuvre en injection plastique sur la qualité de réplication de texturations obtenues par ablation laser femtoseconde, A.-C. Brulez, M. Larochette, J. Vera, S. Benayoun, JFT,27-29/5/15, Nantes.
Modelling the injection of textured molds,R. Nakhoul, P. Laure, L. Silva, M. Vincent, 22ème CFM, Lyon,24-28/8/15.
Etude des paramètres process en injection de thermoplastique sur la qualité de réplication de texturation multi-échelle, A.-C. Brulez, M. Larochette, J. Vera, S. Benayoun, 22ème CFM, Lyon, 24-28/8/15
Influence of the polypropylene structure to control the replication of nanostructures by injection molding, J. Vera, A.-C. Brulez, E. Contraires, M. Larochette, S. Valette, S. Benayoun, 22ème CFM, Lyon, 24-28/8/15.
Contrôle de faisceau laser ultrabref pour la fonctionnalisation de surface à cadences industrielles, C. Mauclair (invité), Intersurfaces, St Etienne, France, 6/ 2015.

Controlling fine-scale surface texture is a new frontier for polymer injection moulding. The requested functionalities may be connected with visual or haptic aspects for consumer goods, or with more technical
ones such as wetting, adhesive or frictional properties. The biomedical field by itself encompasses a very wide potential of applications for such technologies, with stringent technical specifications on mass-produced consumables.

Our choice in TopoInjection is to work on injectable drug delivery devices, to focus on a specific industrial application – yet the results should be widely applicable. Such a system must be able to deliver active biological substances with a high precision, must meet strict requirements on tribological properties, watertightness, chemical stability, biocompatibility, and must be compatible with mass production.
A preliminary study of the tribological behaviour of the contact between an elastomer (piston) and a rough surface (body) in a syringe suggested which textures should be ideal for polymer surfaces. The next step is now to be able to manufacture surfaces with a reproducible texture throughout the required scale range (100 nm – 100 µm) on polyolefin pieces produced in large series.

The aim of the project is to develop a polymer injection moulding process giving the required textures thanks to a combination of four sets of parameters:
1) the mould surface texture,
2) the mould surface chemistry,
3) the physical and chemical properties of the injected polymer,
4) the injection moulding process parameters.

To reach this goal, TopoInjection shall focus on the following keypoints:

• develop a new mould surface texturation process, using femtosecond Laser beams;

• develop experimental and numerical tools to understand the polymer melt flow at the microscale, together with the evolution of the surface upon unmoulding;

• disclose the interactions between the mould surface chemistry, modified by PVD hard coatings, the polymer
physico- chemistry and the interface behaviour.

This deductive approach will probably not yield all the necessary elements for the solution of the problem. It will therefore be completed by a more inductive, empirical approach based on trials on an instrumented injection moulding press. The results from the deductive approach will be integrated continuously to orient real-size tests.
This ambitious project gathers three academic laboratories (LTDS, LaHC, CEMEF-ARMINES), an engineering school (ITECH) and two industrial partners (HEF, Becton Dickinson, HEYRMOULES). Most have both internationally recognised expertise in the scientific fields of interest and a long experience of collaborative projects

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 974,312 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2013 - 36 Months

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