Application of engineering polymers and plastics are widespread because of the wide range of material properties, and lower manufacturing cost offered by them. Plastics and polymers are also mixed with glass and carbon fibers to increase the stiffness and provide higher load handling capabilities. Polymer Testing & Finite Element Analysis FEA go hand in hand for such material and product development.
Thermosetting plastics are used in the manufacture of hard, high temperature resistanting parts and a matrix for composites is used for strength and stiffness. Elastomers such as natural rubber are used in automotive applications for vibration isolation and load bearing properties.
The first step in non-linear analysis of polymers and plastics is material characterization of these highly time and frequency dependent strain rate sensitive materials.
Finite Element Analysis FEA of polymer testing is critical to understanding the perfomance of polymer materials and their judicious use in industrial products. Design optimization iterations are then carried out to finalize the design for optimum stress-strain distribution and high fatigue life.
Polymers exhibit a combination of elastic and viscous response to deformation forces. At low temperatures the stiff elastic behaviour is dominant. At high temperatures a viscous or fluid like behaviour is exhibited. At room temperatures a combination of viscous and elastic behaviour (Viscoelastic) is exhibited. The challenge is to test, model and simulate this unique behaviour of this class of material so that the complete material property can be mapped on the product.