Forty-five percent of serious plastics product failures result from inappropriate materials selection, said Melissa Kurtz, senior materials scientist at Stork Technimet Inc. in a lively discussion on failure analysis at the annual technical conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers in Milwaukee, WI. “This is especially true in applications involving chemical attack and environmental stress cracking,” she said. In one example she cited a phthalic-based plasticizer used in a rubber seal caused environmental stress cracking of polyetherimide in a medical device. In a panel discussion, a General Motors engineer asked for tips on how to determine if excessive use of captive regrind could be causing a part failure. Experts suggested testing melt index of material before molding to determine if the molecular weight was out of range.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
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