FAILURE ANALYSIS FOR COMPOSITES, POLYMERS & NON-METALLICS
Determine the Root Cause for Failure of Raw Materials and Final Products
Many finished products are made from non-metallic materials such as polymers, fiber-reinforced composites, and ceramics. When these products fail to perform according to standards, the potential financial costs and damage to corporate reputations is immense.. To address these problems and prevent their future occurrence, non-metallic failure analysis is a must.
While many products consist of both metallic and non-metallic raw materials, we’ll restrict our discussion to non-metallic failure analysis on this page. See the link at the bottom of the page for a download of the Failure Analysis Case Study Guide for a more robust overview.
While there are slight differences, metallic failure analysis, plastics failure testing, and component failure testing essentially make use of the same methods.
Most of these failure modes are also present in metallic materials, though metallics may also be subject to corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement, among others, as additional failure modes.
Failure Analysis Testing Processes
- Reviewing the steps that occurred before the failure
- Simulating the conditions under which the failure occurred Collecting samples for chemical analysis
- Investigating why some components, if any, remain intact
- Determining the root causes behind the failure
- Recommending steps to avoid future recurrence
In some circumstances, it aids the failure analysis process to inspect the site where the failure took place. Analyzing non-metallic materials often involves multi-disciplinary processes. These can include the following:
- Chemical analysis through the use of FTIR Spectroscopy
- Environmental exposure testing that approximates the conditions at the time of the failure’s occurrence
- Fractography, or the study of fractured material surfaces
- Microscopic examination using scanning electron microscopes and similar equipment
- Mechanical testing utilizing a wide range of analytical equipment, and taking into account component geometry and failure parameters
Failure Analysis Testing Services
IMR Test Labs offers a comprehensive array of failure analysis services for non-metallic materials, including the following:
- Fractography services, which are particularly useful for determining causes of fractures in plastic components and other non-metallic material surfaces
- Investigative chemistry, including adhesive identification, coating contamination, contaminant identification, paint identification, and surface contamination. These are useful for analyzing paint adhesion failures and determining the presence of contaminants in paints and plastics.
- Physical testing for benchmarking plastic part materials and determining distribution of fibers in fiber-reinforced plastics, among others.
- Residual analysis, such as FTIR, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (there is a close relationship between investigative chemistry and residual analysis) for contaminant identification.
- Thermal analysis for measuring properties such as melting point, crystallization temperature, filler content and mechanical properties as a function of temperature
- Litigation failure analysis, involving trial expert witness testimony, technical disposition, legal consultation, and test witness services
The above services are available for a wide range of non-metallic materials and parts, including electrical components, fabrics, medical tools and devices, plated plastic parts, plastics and printed circuit boards.
Additional Non-metallic Failure Analysis Services
Failure analysis of non-metallic materials is necessary to prevent the future recurrence of failures in non-metallic materials. There are different kinds of non-metallic failure analysis techniques. The use of these techniques ultimately depends on the type of non-metallic material to be analyzed and tested.
Request a quote to know more about our non-metallic failure analysis services.
To download our Failure Analysis Guide, click here.
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