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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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