How Do Engineers Evaluate Plastic Materials and Material Strength?

When evaluating a material for use in a particular application, engineers usually look first at the material properties data sheet or material data sheet for short.  These are available on-line for most plastic materials.  This sheet will give typical values for a variety of properties. Usually it will include values for physical properties and mechanical properties as well as thermal and electrical properties. Typically, the material properties data sheet will include what ASTM,Read more

A Closer Look at Glass Fibers in Reinforced Plastic

As we discussed in our last post, reinforcing fibers are added to plastic resins to increase the tensile strength and flexural modulus of the composite as well as the heat deflection temperature of the plastic.  In this blog post, we will take a closer look at glass fibers.
Glass fibers are used as a reinforcing agent for many plastic composites.  Called GRP’s or glass reinforced plastics, these materials are made up of many fine fibers of glass combined with a plastic matrix.Read more

A Special Highlight on Basalt and Aramid Fiber Reinforced Plastic

Fiber reinforced plastic is a mixture of reinforcing fillers and plastic resins called matrixes.  This technique increases the tensile strength and flexural modulus of the composite.  These fillers also increase the heat deflection temperature of a material as well as cause it to resist shrinkage and warping. The extent to which these attributes are enhanced depends on the mechanical properties of the fiber and the matrix, their volume relative to each other and the length and orientation of the fiber within the matrix. Read more

An Introduction to Anti-Static, Dissipative, and Conductive Plastics

Wait!  Aren’t all plastics conductive?  Aren’t plastics the ultimate insulators?  You’re right-plastics are used extensively in many industries, including electronics, as insulators.  But plastics are not just naturally dissipative; most of them are made that way using additives.  Let’s examine how anti-static, conductive, and dissipative plastics are produced and classified.
In order to understand how this works, let’s take a second to examine the phenomenon of electrostatic charge and conductivity.  An electrostatic charge is one that occurs when two objects touch each another.Read more

This Plastic’s On Fire! 4 Types of Flame Retardant Plastic Additives

Like certain pop stars, plastics are generally flammable.

Therefore it is often necessary to add flame retardant plastic additives to meet governmental and industry regulatory standards.  Flame retardant plastic additives are compounds added to plastics and other materials to inhibit, suppress or delay combustion. These compounds are useful in impending burning in the ignition phase of fire.  They do not prevent charring or melting nor do they increase the heat resistance of a material.Read more

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