Failure Analysis / Solving Problems
What The Madison Group does is simple; We solve plastic problems while keeping in mind your desire for a practical, cost effective, and timely solution. When solving plastics-related problems, it is critical to understand the complex properties of plastic materials and how it will behave in the environment to which it is subjected. Our knowledge of plastic material technology ensures our ability to solve your problem.
Typical problems that we have solved:
- Severe brittle fracture within a hand held electronic device associated with molecular degradation during molding caused by improper resin drying
- Creep rupture of a water filter due to the combination of poor product design, inadequate material selection, and discounting the effects of time
- Cracking within automotive cooling system connectors through molecular degradation associated with improper resin compounding
- Environmental stress cracking of a medical device due to contact with an extremely aggressive antibacterial cleaner
- Leakage of engine fuel filters because of inadequate welding parameters
- Cracking within water distribution tubing through ultraviolet (UV) degradation associated with unanticipated sunlight exposure
- Rupture of implantable medical devices associated with excess interference stress from design issues
- Discoloration of an appliance housing during engineering evaluations because of excessive thermal exposure
The goal of the failure analysis is to identify the Mechanism and Cause of the failure.
Why is a Failure Analysis Important?
- Solve the current problem with efficient use of time and resources
- Generally problems do not solve themselves – usually the situation gets worse
- Identify ways to improve or avoid failure in current and future parts
- Advance the knowledge related to materials, design, production methods, installation techniques, and testing methods
We identify how and why a product failed so you can use our findings toward a faster and more effective solution.
Plastics can fracture via a wide variety of mechanisms including:
- Environmental Stress Cracking (ESC)
- Creep Rupture
- Elevated Strain Rate such as Impact
- Molecular Degradation
- Mechanical Overload
- Appearance Changes
Our experience shows that plastic failures are typically due to a combination of factors rather than attributed to one, unique parameter. Five factors affect the performance of molded plastic parts. Whether or not a plastic part performs satisfactorily or fails is determined by:
- Service Conditions/Environment
When a plastic part fails there can be numerous responses including denying the existence of the problem, doing nothing and hoping the problem goes away, act on theories using a shotgun approach, and systematically investigating through disciplined problem-solving. The most time and cost-effective approach to solving the problem is to allow science to direct the investigation and ultimately to provide a solution.
"One test result is worth one thousand expert opinions."
Wernher von Braun, NASA Rocket Scientist
The Madison Group will tailor an investigation specific to solving your problem in a timely and cost-effective manner using a number of available techniques including:
- Visual and Microscopic Examination
- Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
- CT Imaging (Computed Tomography)
- Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
- Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
- Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
- Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
- Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS)
- Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS)
- Chemical Resistance Testing
- Creep Evaluation / Lifetime Prediction Testing
- Tensile Testing
- Impact Testing
- Proof Load Testing
- Engineering Mechanics
- Failure Replication
- FEA / CAD Stress and Molding Analysis