Polymers and Composites

Anand R. Shah, M.S., M.B.A., P.E.
Senior Managing Consultant
Phone: (630) 851-4566

View Capability Sheet

The Polymers and Composites Practice Group has been involved in major national investigations/litigation such as the Boston "Big-Dig" tunnel ceiling collapse, CPVC fire sprinkler piping leak investigations, the polyethylene water service piping litigation, polybutylene plumbing litigations, numerous major natural gas distribution piping leak/explosion incidents, and multiple fire investigations. In addition, the ESI team has decades of practical experience in plastics testing, rubber testing, and composites testing.

ESI engineers/scientists provide expertise on:

  • Investigations - root-cause failure analysis
  • Plastics testing, rubber testing, composites testing (chemical, thermal and mechanical properties)
  • Chemical analysis (FTIR, EDS), thermal analysis (DSC, TGA), mechanical testing (tensile, compression and flexural), physical properties (melt flow index, hardness, and more)
  • Service-life prediction of products, effects of chemicals and the environment on part performance
  • Products - films, foams, fabrics, molded, cast, and extruded/pultruded parts
  • Polymeric materials - thermoplastic, thermoset, elastomers, and fiber reinforced polymeric composites
  • Manufacturing processes - injection molding, extrusion
  • Compression molding, casting, blow molding, composite
  • Lay-up, lamination, pultrusion, and rotational molding
  • Polymer and composites joining - by adhesives, welding (friction, ultrasonic, hot plate, etc.), solvent cements, and mechanical means
  • Formulations - thermoplastic and thermosetting resin compounds, rubber compounds, adhesives, inks, coatings, paints, etc.
  • Reverse engineering - additives, plasticizers, stabilizers, fire retardants, fillers, etc.
  • Characterization - material degradation, cross-linking, curing, thermal, physical, and mechanical properties
  • Part design and material selection evaluations

Relative Experience

The manufacturer of a compo­site panel used in an outdoor application approved replacement of the panel's exterior skin based on quality control tests which were not capable of approximating the long-term performance of the panels. Within months, customers began reporting that the skin was delaminating. Accelerated UV exposure demonstrated that the skin allowed UV radiation to reach the adhesive which rapidly degraded the adhesive. Accelerated exposure testing during the skin evaluation process would have identified this failure mode prior to commercialization.

The design and material suitability evaluation of a part manufactured from a glass-reinforced plastic material was determined using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) - a tool utilized to understand the location and magnitude of the stresses in a part. The analysis was effective in concluding that product fail­ures were due to installation.

Examination of fracture surfaces in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) can be a critical element of many failure analysis investigations. ESI has SEM instruments that can obtain quality SEM images on uncoated polymer surfaces in both backscattered electron and secondary electron imaging modes. Imaging in both modes can provide complimentary information to better elucidate the failure mechanism.

Professionals in This Area








Duvall, Donald E., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   deduvall@engsys.com  


Hayes, Michael D., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   mdhayes@engsys.com  


Shah, Anand R., M.S., M.B.A., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   arshah@engsys.com  


Edwards, Dale B., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   dbedwards@engsys.com  


Umberger, Pierce D., Ph.D.   Senior Staff Consultant   pdumberger@engsys.com  


Parrington, Ronald J., P.E., FASM   Senior Managing Consultant & Director of Industrial Services   rjparrington@engsys.com  


Pettinger, Alfred M., Ph.D., P.E.   Principal & Director of Mechanics   ampettinger@engsys.com  


Baron, Richard P., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant & Manager of Dallas Operations   rpbaron@engsys.com  

Texas (Dallas)

Cline, Keith G., P.E.   Senior Consultant & Manager of Washington Operations   kgcline@engsys.com  


Hanks, Michael L., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Consultant   mlhanks@engsys.com  

Florida, Georgia

Babcock, Jason R., Ph.D.   Senior Consultant   jrbabcock@engsys.com  


Cameron, Kimberly K., Ph.D., P.E.   Senior Managing Consultant   kkcameron@engsys.com  


Grzetic, Joseph F.   Senior Staff Consultant & Facilities Manager   jfgrzetic@engsys.com  


Sanders, Steven A., M.S., P.E.   Senior Staff Consultant   sasanders@engsys.com