Material Selection and Testing for Plastics     


I.D.# C0134Printable Description
Duration: 2 Days
March 7-8, 2016 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. ) - Troy, Michigan  

Hotel & Travel Information

Today's necessity for quickly delivering products to market limits product development time and leaves less room for error and 're-dos.' With so many plastic materials available, it is crucial that those involved in product design understand resin properties and how they affect part design and manufacturability. To help you make the best plastic choices the first time, this seminar provides an overview of polymer chemistry, explains the methods for testing properties of plastics and presents a method of systematic selection that will optimize your plastics material selection process.

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this seminar, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the properties of plastic materials
  • Know what types of instruments are used in testing
  • Demonstrate methods used to test the properties of plastic materials
  • Possess the technical background necessary to select the optimum resin for a given application
  • Apply measurements to the standards and specifications so the material and design meet an application's service requirements

Who Should Attend
This seminar will benefit product and part designers, engineers, engineering managers and those involved in the development of plastic parts. Specifically designed to enhance on-the-job effectiveness for professionals at all levels of plastics part development, this course will provide an invaluable foundation for selecting plastic materials and understanding their capabilities and limitations.

Participants should have an undergraduate engineering degree.

Topical Outline

  • Introduction to Plastic Materials
    • Definitions
    • Thermoset vs. thermoplastics
    • Good (and bad) characteristics
    • General properties
    • Brief history
    • Economic "position" (commodity vs engineering vs specialty)
  • Plastics-General Overview
    • Materials form
    • Shipment sizes
    • Pre-compounded vs blended
    • Drying/storing
    • Handling
    • Grades and lots
    • Regrinding and reuse
  • Polymer Chemistry Introduction/Review
    • Molecular weight
    • Distribution, dispersity index
    • Morphology
    • Molecular configuration
  • Process Related Property Variations
    • Drying
    • Shrinking
    • Rheology
    • Additives
  • Properties of Plastics
    • DIN vs ASTM
    • Data shifts
    • Tests and their procedures
    • Chemical resistance
    • Optical properties
    • Color analysis
    • Weathering resistance
    • Abrasion resistance
    • Flammability
    • Electrical character
    • Chemical (analytical) testing
  • Processing Properties
    • Melt index
    • Capillary remoter
    • Shrinkage
    • Thermal diffusion character
  • Simple Plastics Materials Selection
    • Product needs assessment
    • Systematic selection
  • Typical Materials Selection Errors
  • Plastics Materials Review
    • The "Big Eight"
    • Commodity polymers
    • Engineering polymers
    • Rubbers and elastomers

Instructor(s): Robert G. Speirs
Robert Speirs is Associate Professor of Plastics Programs at Ferris State Univ. Additionally, Speirs instructs many plastics engineering technology seminars covering material selection, product design and advanced plastics processing. Along with his vast teaching experience, Speirs brings practical industrial experience from his work with Baxter Travenol Laboratories and Dow Chemical. Speirs also has taught continuing education seminars in injection molding, mold design and injection molding troubleshooting for molders throughout North America and in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Fees: $1335.00 ; SAE Members: $1068.00 - $1202.00

1.3 CEUs
You must complete all course contact hours and successfully pass the learning assessment to obtain CEUs.


“I found Dr. Speirs to be an engaging presenter with just that right pace to help me understand and cover the material well. The course content applies to several plastics analysis and functions I see in use currently.”
Steve Reagan
Computational Modeling Manager
L&L Products

“Will increase you knowledge and understanding of plastic parts.”
Karthik Kandra
CAE Engineer
L&L Products

"The instructor presented the material in an enthusiastic and understandable way."
Susan Collet
Senior Principal Engineer, Materials
Toyota Technical Center USA, Inc.

To register, click Register button at the top of this page and submit the online form, or contact SAE Customer Service at 1-877-606-7323 (724/776-4970 outside the U.S. and Canada) or at

For a quote on bringing this course to your company site, fill out a Corporate Learning Solutions Request Form