Requirements concerning the lifetime of plastic components are getting higher and higher, while developmental periods of new products decrease at the same time. Therefore, manufacturers as well as user of plastic parts often have to face the problem how to be able to make reliable predictions concerning the maximum service lifetime of their products. In some cases (e.g. plastic pipes, drainage mats or geomembranes) the required minimum service lifetime can be 50 years or more. In those cases even long-term experiments (typically in the range of several months) are not suitable to derive reliable extrapolations.
An extrapolation of test results over a wide time range is problematic as this may lead to
a prediction of completely wrong property values.
For this reason accelerated testing methods based on physico-chemical models are of great interest, allowing correct predictions of the long-term and ageing behaviour within acceptable times. It is essential that the accelerating stress, e.g. an elevated temperature, does not cause any changes in failure mechanism that would not occur during normal operation conditions.
Therefore, an important focus of our R&D activities is the application and development of methods for accelerated testing and life time prediction of plastic components.
We carry out lifetime estimations for new plastic parts as well as for parts after many years of operation.
Special issues are:
- Assessment of part properties using innovative testing and analytical methods
- Accelerated test methods adapted to the relevant failure mechanism
- Use of physico-chemical models for lifetime prediction
- Lifetime prediction of plastic components by means of FEM simulation