Courtesy of New Process Fibre
Much more than simply picking texture or color, plastic material selection criteria can greatly affect performance, safety, and durability. In order to make the right choice for your application, it’s important to know a material’s unique characteristics and how they will affect your specific project. To effectively answer these questions, you’ll need to be familiar with every detail of your application. Once armed with the appropriate information and project details, refer to these eight important considerations for selecting non-metallic and plastic materials:
•Temperature — Will the parts in your application be exposed to frequent fluctuation or temperature extremes? Many materials have a maximum and minimum operating temperature, as they can become brittle in extreme cold or oxidize when exposed to intense heat.
•Mechanics — If your application requires high tensile strength or will be exposed to competing forces, you’ll need a material capable of withstanding these pressures and stresses without deforming or fatiguing.
•Flexibility — Closely tied to tensile strength, some components may need to be extremely stiff or flexible depending on their role in the application.
•Impact Resistance — Will the component require toughness in its planned environment? If so, you’ll need to select a material with strong resistance to impact and erosion effects over time.
•Dielectric Strength — If your application involves the transfer of electricity, the part may need to be able conduct an electric current or, conversely, be insulated and protected from it.
•Chemical Resistance — What chemicals or other harmful substances will the components be exposed to? Industries processing volatile chemicals or producing high levels of toxic waste will require more resistant materials than those in less severe environments.
•Industry Demands — Your material may need to meet specific requirements depending on the specifications of the individual application, as well as any specific standards or legal regulations — such as ASME or ISO — that may exist within a particular industry.
•Cost — While it can be challenging to strike a balance between cost and quality, you should always try to select the material that will offer the best performance for your budget.
Next time: How to choose the right plastic material for laboratory and research applications.
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