Curbell Plastics, Inc., one of the nation’s top suppliers of plastic sheet, rod, tube, tapes, and fabricated parts, published a new technical paper for engineers and machinery designers about environmental stress cracking (ESC), the premature brittle failure of plastic materials caused by the combination of stress and chemical contact.
The Plastic Part Failure Caused by Environmental Stress Cracking white paper discusses how certain plastics are susceptible to failure when exposed to adverse conditions. The paper combines knowledge from scientific literature as well as from industry experience to outline common causes of ESC and how to contend with them. The paper is written to help with plastic material selection, part design, and assembly in order to avoid environmental stress cracking and costly part failures.
“Due to the nature of polymeric materials, their structural integrity can be compromised by adverse environmental factors such as chemicals, cyclic loading and vibration. We are cautious when selecting and assembling plastic parts in order to prevent premature failures,” said Timothy Buchanan, the paper’s author and Technical Service Engineer for Curbell Plastics. “This white paper is a good primer for engineers who work with plastics in challenging conditions, especially those involving chemicals.”
This seventeen-page paper includes charts, graphs, and illustrations explaining the most common environmental stress cracking issues that engineers and designers encounter. The paper concludes with techniques to reduce environmental stress cracking, tips on proper cleaning and how to minimize physical stress.