How many free websites do you have to visit to find materials data from 50 of the world's biggest plastics suppliers? Just one, thanks to a new web-enabled version of the CAMPUS material property database (www.campusplastics.com).
Developed by a consortium of global plastics suppliers, CAMPUS has for nearly a decade served as a clearinghouse for single- and multi-point ISO property data. "Its value is that it puts materials data from every supplier into a standard format," explains Ranganath Shastri, a materials scientist who serves as the CAMPUS representative for Dow Plastics (Midland, MI). In the past, however, the database existed only as an off-line, fragmented tool. Because each supplier distributed its own data on separate diskettes, comparing materials from more than one supplier required either a prolonged disk-juggling routine or proprietary data merging software from M-Base Software + Engineering (Frankfurt, Germany).
According to Shastri, the migration to the Web makes CAMPUS data far easier to access and also paves the way for a host of new features. Here's a look at some of these new and upcoming capabilities:
Comparison shopping. CAMPUS users can now compare materials from different suppliers without the need for data merging software. This CAMPUS WebViewer permits simple searches based on material type and brand. More complex searches and comparisons can still benefit from the M-Base software, which now comes in a new Intranet version. Unlike the CAMPUS web site, the M-Base software allows users to search using one or more mechanical- or physical-property limits, according to Antoine Rios, senior research engineer for M-Base's North American distributor, The Madison Group (Madison, WI). "For example, with our software you could call up all materials with a tensile modulus greater than 10,000 MPa," he says. "Or you could do the same thing with any other property in the database." The merge software also allows graphical comparisons through overlays of up to ten material-property curves, Rios adds.
Stretching properties. An upcoming release of CAMPUS (Version 4.5) will address the needs of elastomer users with fields for compression set, tear strength, durometer hardness, and abrasion resistance. "Past versions of CAMPUS did not support thermoplast elastomers at all," Shastri notes.
Defying chemicals. Version 4.5 will also provide support for chemical resistance data. "The intention is to provide a uniform way to report property retention after chemical exposure," Shastri says. For now, the database will contain space for 46 commonly encountered mediums.
Global or not? Despite the growing availability of global materials—or at least, close global equivalents—some plastic grades remain regional. The new version of CAMPUS addresses that shortcoming with a new field that indicates geographical availability.
For more information about the materials database from the CAMPUS Group:
Enter 535 For more information about database software from The Madison Group: