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Thermoplastic Materials Engineering: Synthesis, Testing, Selection, and End Use Specification

Course description
Time: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Location: 240 South Forge Street, Akron, Ohio 44325
Classroom 217 (Located inside the National Polymer Innovation Center)
Cost: $1,000.00 USD
CEU's: 1.6
Instructor: Mr. David Russell

Course Overview

The scope of this course includes general purpose plastics, engineering and high performance plastics, and thermoplastic elastomers. This course is intended for material specialists, design engineers, tech service personnel, procurement specialists and others who wish to broaden their understanding of thermoplastic materials, how and why they are used, and issues related to risks of material failure.

Day 1 (optional) presents relevant fundamentals of polymer science including; polymerization mechanisms, kinetics, and molecular weight development, and backbone structure-property relationships. Day 1 also provides fundamentals of how major commercial industrial and high performance polymers are synthesized.

Days 2 and 3 provide a frame work for: candidate material selection, qualification for specific use, and developing meaningful specifications in the context of the fundamentals of ISO design control processes. Consensus standards such as: ISO, SAE and ASTM standards, recommended practices, and specifications are identified and discussed. Risk factors are identified and a range of failure case studies are reviewed illustrating many of the common risks such as stress cracking, brittle failures, creep, environmental and chemical exposure, fatigue, processing, and part design defects. Relevant testing and analysis techniques are reviewed.

Chemistry, fundamental properties, strengths and weaknesses, and common uses are detailed for a range of materials including for example: PE, PP, PS, ABS, PVC, PA, PC, POM, PPO, PEI, PEEK, PSU, PPS, PAI, TPU, COPES, TPVs, TPOs, PTFE, PFA, FEP, and more.

Instructor Biography:

russellDave Russell is a graduate of The University of Akron where he studied Engineering, Mathematics, and Polymer Science. Dave has worked in the polymer industry at all levels of business from bench chemist to CEO; operating R&D laboratories, compounding plants, polymerization units and quality organizations.

Dave’s experience spans over 40 years working for companies like Goodyear, Eaton Corp, Akron Polymer Laboratory, Akron BioMaterials Inc, Biomerics LLC and Integra Life Sciences. Dave is currently an industry consultant specializing in marketing new products,  rubber and plastics failure analysis, polyurethane chemistry and technology  and polymeric medical devices.

Day 1:

  1. Introduction to Polymer Science:
    • Classification of polymers, kinetics, molecular weight development.
    • Polymerization mechanisms: free radical, step addition/condensation, anionic, cationic, nucleophilic substitution, electrophilic addition, Z-N and metallocene coordination polymerizations.
    • Backbone structure-property relationships
    • Typical polymerization processes for key industrial polymers; emulsion/suspension, bulk, solution/slurry/gas phase.

Days 2-3:

  1. Fundamentals of Selection and Specification Process
    • Key Issues Related to Specification of Material
    • Design Control Fundamentals:  ISO 9001, 13485, 21CFR-820
    • Consensus Standards:
    • ASTM, ISO, Mil, SAE  Material Standards
    • ASTM, ISO Testing and Analysis Standards
    • Laboratory Standard:  ISO 17025
  1. Common Plastic Part Failures:
    • Case Studies
    • Creep Rupture and Environmental Stress Cracking (ESC) of Plastics
  1. Key Testing and Analysis Methods for Plastics
    • Tensile Properties
    • Impact Testing
    • Modulus of Elasticity
    • Creep Testing
    • Melt Flow Index
    • ESCR Testing
    • Predictive Testing: Aging, Fatigue, Creep
    • Spectroscopy:  FT-IR, NMR, EDX, XPS
    • Chromatography:  GPC, GC, HPLC
    • Thermo-analytical:  DSC, TGA
    • Dynamic Mechanical Spectroscopy:  DMS, DMA, DMTA
  1. Chemistry and Technology of Plastic Materials
    • Commodity, Engineering,  HP Engineering Materials: eg PE, PP, PS, PVC, ABS, PC, PA, POM, PPO, PEI, PEEK, PSU, TFE, FEP, and more.
      1. Chemical Structures
      2. Key US Suppliers
      3. Key Properties – Strengths and Weaknesses
      4. Typical Applications
  1. Chemistry and Technology of Thermoplastic Elastomers:
    • TPO, POE, SBS, SEBS, TPV, TPU, COPES, COPA, and more
      1. Chemical Structures
      2. Key US Suppliers
      3. Key Properties – Strengths and Weaknesses
      4. Typical Applications
  1. Chemistry and Technology of Conventional Elastomers
    • NR/IR, Butyl/IIR, NBR, EPDM, SBR, FKM, and more
      1. Chemical Structures
      2. Key US Suppliers
      3. Key Properties – Strengths and Weaknesses
      4. Failure Analysis


If you have any questions or need more information about this course, please contact:

Penelope Pinkston


Online Registration


Registration Form

Registration information: Registration shall remain open until posted as closed on the course listing on this site.

Registrations must be guaranteed by check, a purchase order number or a credit card, otherwise the registration will not be processed. Checks should be made payable to "The Akron Polymer Technology Services Training Center" and must include a copy of your completed registration form. Course fees are due before attending.

All registrations—whether by online, phone, fax or mail—will be confirmed and considered binding and subject to all cancellation policies. If you do not receive a confirmation prior to the class, please call The Akron Polymer Technology Services Training Center to verify your registration.

Course fee includes classroom instruction, instructional materials, parking permits, continental breakfast, lunch, beverages and refreshment breaks. Travel and hotel accommodations are not included.


Visit our registration webpage to view our cancellation/withdrawal policy.