Design Reliability

Product design starts when one visualizes a certain material, makes approximate calculations to see if the contemplated idea is practical to meet requirements that includes cost, and, if the answer is favorable, proceeds to collect detailed data on a range of materials that may be considered for the new product. The application of appropriate data to product design can mean the difference between the success and failure of manufactured products made from any material. The available plastic test data requires an understanding and proper interpretation before an attempt can be made to apply them to the product design.

There are two important sources of information on plastics. There is the data sheet compiled by a manufacturer of the material and derived from tests conducted in accordance with standardized specifications. The other source is the description of outstanding characteristics of each plastic, along with the listing of typical applications. If suppliers' data were to be applied without a complete analysis of the test data for each property, the result could prove costly and embarrassing.

The nature of plastic materials is such that an oversight of even a small detail in its properties or the method by which they were derived could result in problems and product failure. Once it is recognized that there are certain reservations with some of the properties given on the data sheet, it becomes obvious that it is very important for the designer to have a good understanding of these properties. Thus the designer can interpret the test results in order to make the proper evaluation in selecting a material for a specific product.

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