Plastics Materials and Products

Upcoming course dates

Oct 4-5 2017 - £660.00

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Course duration: 2 days 

Shawbury Shropshire, UK


This course concentrates on developing better understanding of plastics materials and processing, therefore avoiding the common causes of product failure as a result of lack of material knowledge. Engineers will be happy to note that the course does not dwell on the chemical structure or synthesis of plastics.

Lots of practical examples and experienced and qualified presenters

Andrea Sanchez-Valencia (Smithers Rapra)

As an additional feature delegates will be invited to bring in examples of problem mouldings or product failures for general discussion or private consultation.

Course Objectives

As a result of attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the different generic and sub-generic types of plastic and have a basic knowledge of their relative advantages and disadvantages
  • Understand the methodology associated with the effective selection of plastics for specific applications
  • Understand the physical characteristics of plastics, the effects of time, temperature and stress and the implications of those characteristics on the design process
  • Identify and rectify existing or potential product failure regions
  • Identify and rectify potential or existing processing problems
  • Identify and rectify potential or existing joining problems
  • Understand how to better use material data for more effective design through the use of relevant testing and software tools.

Course Content

Plastics Materials

Classification (thermosets, thermoplastics, semi-crystalline, amorphous), major modifications (fibre reinforced, impact modified, etc.). Properties, characteristics advantages and disadvantages of common plastics.

Materials Selection

The barriers to structured selection include many plastics types and thousands of grades to choose from.  Numerous options and variations will be presented to facilitate 'decoding the data sheet'.  Equally important there will be advice on drawing up the specification; the hidden requirements, often overlooked, which can result in failure.  Finally there is a participative case study using computer software.

Design for Performance

The structural performance of plastics (creep, stress relaxation, fatigue, effect of temperature, ageing, chemical attack), allowable design stresses and strains.

The differences betwen short and long term mechanical properties and their impact on application.  Introduction of methodologies to use long term materials data to improve the confidence in the performance of a design and minimise the risk of product failure in the long term.

Failure Diagnosis

Common causes of failure, brittle fracture (stress cracking, embrittlement, effect of notches, uv degradation, hydrolysis), impact, fatigue

Injection Moulding

Many common faults including short shots, flashing, weld lines, sinking and voiding, thermal and hydrolytic degradation, etc. are discussed.  Causes and remedies are suggested.  How the part design contributes to the problems will be explained such that design can be optimised for manufacture as well as function.

Use of software simulation tools to optimise the moulded part in terms of processing quality, final part dimensions and residual stress.


Tensile stress-strain and creep tests, impact tests and stress relaxation.

Who Will Benefit?

This course will benefit

  • Product Designers
  • Product Development Engineers
  • Technical services
  • Quality assurance
  • Component procurement
  • Others involved in the design or development of new products and who need an understanding of the engineering capabilities of plastics

Little or no knowledge of plastics materials and processes is assumed.

Presenter Information

This course is presented by:

Andrew Hulme PhD, B.Eng, AMIMMM, Consultant - Smithers Rapra

Tom Forsyth BSc, Consultant - Smithers Rapra

You can read more about these Presenters by clicking on their expert profiles.