Plenty of engineers know about the mechanical property advantages of thermoplastic urethanes, or TPUs. These materials usually exhibit a powerful combination of abrasion resistance, high tear strengths, and wide service temperature ranges. What's less well known is how much these properties improve with the dry-heat annealing of the finished parts. This post-curing step typically improves tensile and tear properties by 10-20 percent, according to data from specialty compounder RTP Company. Temperatures for the annealing vary with the specific TPU, but they commonly fall between 212 and 248F. Annealing times can range from 12 hours to as much as 14 days. For more information, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/3849-525.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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