How to Avoid Silver Marks and Splays in Plastic Injection Molding

Today we come back with 2 new common issues in your plastic production. If you are new here, this post belongs to a series aiming to describe the 20 most common issues you might encounter in your Plastic Production. Our first post was about short shots.

Silver Marks

What are silver marks?

Spatter lines formed on the surface of the plastic along the direction of melt flow are called silver marks (shown below):

Silver Mark on black plasticSilver Mark on grey plastic

Reasons and solutions

The appearance of silver marks is generally due to the rapid start of the injection so that the air in the melt and mold cavity cannot be discharged quickly enough where the air clamp is mixed in the melt. This results in the appearance of silver filaments on the plastic surface. Silver marks not only affect the appearance of the plastic parts but also reduces the mechanical strength of them as well. The formation of silver marks is mainly due to the gases in the melt surface of the plastic part. By finding the source of these gases, we can find out the methods to solve the defects. The corresponding causes and methods are as follows:

1. The plastic itself contains water or oil.

Exposure to air during the manufacture of plastics, as well as the inhalation of water, oil, or mixtures in the wrong proportion, causes these volatile substances to become gases at high temperatures in the solution.

2. The melt is decomposed by heat.

If the melt tube temperature, back pressure, and melt speed are set too high, or the forming cycle is too long, then the heat-sensitive plastics (such as PVC and PC, etc.) are easily decomposed into gas at high temperatures.

3. Air.

If the temperature of the melt barrel near the hopper is set so high that the surface of the plastic particles melt and stick together before compression, the air between the plastic particles cannot be completely excluded (bad degassing).

4. Poor melt plasticization.

For this reason, the temperature of the barrel should be increased and the molding cycle should be lengthened. Internal heating injection port should be used as much as possible. The cooling well and the flow channel could also be increased.

The reasons and improved methods for the silver marks in the plastic parts are listed below:

Reason analysis Improving methods
Raw material contains water Dry the raw material thoroughly (within allowed moisture content)
Excessive material temperature (melting decomposition) Lower melt temperature
Material containing other fillers (e.g. lubricant) Reduce its usage or replace other additives
Color powder decomposition (color powder has poor temperature resistance) Choose a powder with high-temperature resistance
Too fast injection speed (shear decomposition or air entrainment) make the injection speed lower
Air is trapped inside the barrel

1 Slow down the glue

2 Increase the back pressure

Mixed raw materials or poor thermal stability Replace raw materials or use plastics with good thermal stability
When the molten material flows from the thin wall to the thick wall, it expands. The volatiles vaporize and contact with the surface of the mold and become silver Improved die structure design
Adjust the relationship between injection speed and position
The gate is too large/too small or in an improper position Improve gate size or adjust gate location
Poor mold exhaust or low mold temperature Improve mold exhaust or mold temperature
Excessive melt residue Reduce melt residue
The temperature at the feeding port is too high Lower the temperature and check the cooling water at the discharge port
Low back pressure (poor degassing) Increase back pressure appropriately

Too large position for glue extraction

 Reduce the glue extraction position


splay mark

What is a splay mark?

The splay mark is the water wave pattern which can not be removed after the melt flow trace is formed. It is mostly seen on the plastic parts with a smooth finish as shown in the figure below:

Splay Mark on Pink Plastic

Reasons and solutions

The splay mark is from the first melt into the cavity cooling too fast while the the hot melted plastics is forced into the front to push the intitial melt forward to cause the formation of water wave lines. Therefore, it can be improved by increasing melt temperature and mold temperature, accelerating injection speed and increasing pressure maintaining time. If the cold material remaining at the front end of the nozzle enters the mold cavity directly, it will also cause water ripples. Therefore, a cold material well should be opened at the end of the main channel to effectively prevent the occurrence of the splay mark.

The cause of splay mark and the improvement method are shown in the following table:

Reason analysis Improving methods
Poor melting and plasticization of raw materials

1. Raise the barrel temperature

2. Increase the back pressure

3. Increase screw speed

Mold temperature or material temperature is too low Raise the mold temperature or material temperature
Slow injection speed at the splay mark Increase the injection speed at the splay mark appropriately
A slow injection (too long and narrow passage) Increase the speed of an injection
The gate is too small or in an inappropriate position Increase the gate or change the gate position
The cold material hole is too small or insufficient Increase or increase the cooling hole
The flow channel is too long or too fine (melting is easy to be cooled) Shorten or thicken the runner
The poor fluidity of melting material (low FMI) Change material with good fluidity
Too low pressure or too short time Increase pressure and pressure maintaining time


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You can be assured of the quality of your PCB/PCBA and SMT production. 

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