Plastics are among the most important
and widely used production materials in the world today. A wide
variety of plastics is available possessing an equally wide variety
of physical, chemical and mechanical properties. However not all
designers have the necessary data or experience to make intelligent
choices about which plastics are best suited to their needs.
This project was aimed at the creation
of a "virtual consultant", making best practice guidelines
readily available to designers. The new software package includes
valuable information gained from practical experience concerning
the behaviour of plastics under critical conditions, the most important
being failure due to creep fatigue under conditions of high stress.
The new system promises cheaper and more
reliable plastic components in consumer products, as well as in
highly engineered and more efficient industrial products. Designers
can now develop new products more quickly and with greater confidence
in materials which may be new to them.
Ten SME partners have validated the new
knowledge database and the resulting product is now being marketed
globally as part of a software suite.