Smithers provides consultative insight, supported by materials testing and analysis, to identify the root causes of failures. We also offer support with corrective recommendations and can conduct a hazard analysis and identify any critical control points.

While polymer based materials are extremely versatile materials, they are not without their limitations. To reduce the likelihood of product failure, designers and engineers need to understand:

  • The fundamental nature of rubber and plastics
  • The limitations of the specific rubber or plastic chosen for their project
  • Failure modes of the rubber or plastic, including consideration for the intended end-use environment of the product or component
  • Impact of potential product abuse in service

Failure Analysis Services include:

  • Rapid and unbiased failure assessment of products / materials
  • Failure identification of the probable cause 
  • Remedial recommendations for corrective actions to minimize the risk of further failure
  • Improvement recommendations for the device, component, or structure performance
  • Independent failure investigation including expert witness support

We have a dedicated team of polymer product specialists with many years of field experience. Our team has a fundamental understanding of polymer behavior, how polymer products and parts perform in service, extensive experience of failure modes, and a practical appreciation of design and processing.

We have undertaken tens of thousands of polymer and rubber failure investigations, including plastics, TPEs, fibre, adhesives, coatings and paint systems. 

All guidance is supported by comprehensive testing facilities
Our ISO 17025 accredited facilities are on-hand to support any failure investigation with an extensive range of testing and analytical services. Our experts are able to:

  • Fully characterize polymer composition and mechanical performance to rapidly assess the cause of failure
  • Recommend corrective actions to minimize the risk of further failure
  • Suggest performance improvements for the device, component, or structure
We can help prevent future failures
Once the root cause has been identified, we are able to provide additional support depending on your requirements. We can assist with material specification optimization, material selection, and custom compound development in order to reduce the risk of recurring plastic or rubber failure.

Common polymer based products we analyze include:

  • Mounts
  • Valve linings
  • Expansion bellows 
  • Conveyor belts
  • Diaphragms 
  • Rubber bearings
  • Tire tubes, valves, and flaps