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