Signs of creep failure in plastics & polymers - Industrial Physics Signs of creep failure in plastics & polymers - Industrial Physics

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Signs of creep failure in plastics & polymers

Key Signs of Creep Failure in Plastics

Wondering how creep failure could affect your plastic material? We’ve got you covered.
Creep failure is a time-dependent deformation that can destroy the integrity of plastic products or components, rendering parts and components null or completely compromising the integrity of a structure.
Find out what to look out for when testing and evaluating your plastic products with our guide to the key signs of creep failure in plastics.

Understanding plastic creep

Creep failure in plastics is the slow deformation over a long period of time that typically ends in a rupture. It is caused by the application of continuous stress and can be affected by temperature, particularly extreme ones.
Polymer plastics are used in all sorts of applications where they will be subjected to stress. Testing for creep failure and rupture throughout the development process is the best way to avoid potential issues in the final product.

Signs of creep failure

  • Changes to the material’s overall size: Plastics that are undergoing creep failure may deform, changing their overall size and structure.
  • Creep voids or cavities in the microstructure of the plastic’s surface: Using a microscope, it is possible to identify the early stages of creep, indicated by tiny voids opening up in the outer surface of the plastic.

Why does plastic creep failure happen?

When subjected to continuous stress, the properties of molded plastics will change over time. By their nature, plastics exhibit both viscous and elastic characteristics when placed under stress. This viscoelasticity, which is unique to thermoplastics, means that the changes that happen to plastic under pressure are time-dependent.
Understanding a plastic’s viscoelasticity by way of thorough testing makes it possible to know how the plastic will behave in its intended application. Creep failure is not limited to plastic, but the length and nature of the process differs.

Creep failure examples

The most common examples of creep failure in plastic are deformation and rupture. With both, there are three distinct stages. Read more in our guide to the three stages of creep failure .
These failures can be seen in a variety of situations. For example, the seal of a plastic bag or package may be subject to creep over time. A creep to fail test can be used to determine the performance of plastics against a specified pressure for a specified length of time.

Testing for creep failure in plastics

Be confident that your products can withstand the pressures they face with our dedicated testing solutions. We can help you choose the right polymer, plastic and PVC creep testing equipment designed to simulate and replicate the stressors particular to your product.
From leak and flow testers to basic tension and compression testing, we’ve got the specialist advice you need. To find out more about how we can support your needs, get in touch.