Towards better rubber compound selection: Introducing Endurica’s new Companion(TM) App

Rubber can be formulated in a very wide range of properties.  For materials developers, this cuts two ways. On one hand, it means that there are almost always excellent options for a given application.  On the other, it means that those options are usually hidden among lots of bad options.  This is job security for rubber compounders, but it unfortunately also underlies the fact that there are so many instances of sub-optimal materials selection decisions when it comes to rubber.  One study found that more than 40% of rubber product failures could have been avoided with better materials selection.

One cause of this statistic is poor visibility into how material properties map into application performance.  Too often, the material options are judged based on an over-simplified lab test, or an incomplete specification of application conditions. We made the CompanionTM app to address this gap.  Companion makes it easier to find the rubber properties that ensure durability in your application.  Companion can compare materials for strain-, stress- and energy control.  It can compare applications with different modes of deformation (tension, compression, shear).  It can account for fully relaxing and nonrelaxing loading. It can account for temperature effects.

Another cause of too-high rates of poor materials selection is that sometimes different parts of an organization use incompatible approaches to specify, characterize and analyze the material and the application.  Gaps between the materials, product and testing silos sometimes create unnecessary confusion, conflict and wasted effort, leading to poor durability.  Companion was built with the aim of getting materials engineers and product engineers using a common, validated framework.  The material properties and analysis principles in the Companion App are the same as those used in our product simulation software, but the user experience in the app is centered around the materials selection decision.  No special knowledge of fatigue theory or simulation technology is needed to start using the app.

You can use the basic version of Companion for free.  Go to companion.endurica.com to set up your account and try it out.  The free version lets you define one material and one loading condition.  A subscription-based professional version is also available for about $1 USD / day.  The subscription version lets you compare 2 materials and 2 load cases side-by-side, it lets you save your material definitions to a local database for future use, and it includes several outputs that give deeper insight into the fatigue behavior of your materials.  The workflow is simple: 1) define your material(s), 2) define your load case(s), 3) run the calculation, and 4) review the results and compare performance of the materials for the given load cases.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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Road Loads to Block Cycle Schedule

Road load signals are notoriously difficult to work with. The signals feature so many different time increments that it becomes too much to directly model efficiently in FEA. It is difficult to tell which portions of the loading do the most damage. Experimental fatigue testing would be too time-consuming and costly to run on the full complex road load signal. For these reasons simplifying road loads into block cycle schedules has become the gold standard for working with road load signals. Experimental testing and FEA modeling are more manageable when using a block cycle schedule instead of the full road load signal. Traditional methods of converting a road load signal to block cycle schedule can often fall short. Endurica recently added a built-in method in the Endurica CL software that uses the power of critical plane analysis and rain-flow counting to automate block cycle creation.

Let us dive into the process of block cycle creation using an example of a bushing and a road load history. The road loading history shown below contains results for loadings in 3 axes over a time history.

The first step in creating the block cycle schedule is solving for the strain history over the entire road load history. Fortunately, Endurica EIE comes to the rescue in solving for the long strain history. The road load time history does not need to be modeled directly in FEA. Instead, a map is run in FEA to solve for strain history within the bounds of the road loading. Endurica EIE quickly interpolates the strains from this map to create the full loading strain history. In the animation below the map points solved for in FEA are shown as black dots and the bushing traces out the path of the map.

After the full road load strain history has been solved for in EIE the fatigue life for the road load signal is ready to be analyzed in CL. The fatigue analysis of the entire road load signal gives valuable insight into finding the critical location, developing the block cycle, and allowing the fatigue life of the block schedule to be validated against the fatigue life of the road load. The critical location of the bushing is shown in the image below:

At the bushing critical location, all damaging events on the critical plane are taken into account when creating the block cycle schedule. The events are grouped into different bins categorized by two parameters: the peak CED and R ratio. The analyst remains in control by selecting the number of bins to group into. Each of the bins contains events with similar peak CED and R ratio that falls within the bounds of the bin. Within each bin, a representative cycle is identified that when repeated in the block schedule will contribute at least as much damage as all the various events in the bin. This selection process produces a conservative result that ensures that the block cycle will be at least as damaging as the road load.

The bin results from the original history show the number of times each bin is repeated and the total damage from each bin. At this point, the bins that contribute insignificant damage can be safely eliminated from the block cycle schedule to save testing time and complexity without changing the results.

 

The simplified block schedule is then modeled to check the fatigue life vs the full road load signal. The results show that the critical location and fatigue life has been accurately maintained in the block schedule.

This automated block cycle creation procedure succeeded in producing a block cycle with the same critical location and very similar fatigue life. The block cycle selection was able to re-create the full road load signal using only three different loading blocks.

Endurica CL automated block cycle creation lets you take the guesswork out of block cycle creation and harness the proven power of Endurica fatigue analysis technology to get durability right.

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Things that went right in 2020 at Endurica

2020 is burned in all our minds as a chaotic and tough year.  Just like the rest of the world, Endurica staff experienced times of isolation and loss due to the pandemic.  On a positive note, we invested heavily in making our tools and workflows better than ever so that we’re ready to come back strong in 2021.  Here is a list of our top new developments in 2020:

Endurica Software Enhancements

  • Endurica DT’s new Ageing Feature now enables you to simulate how ageing affects your rubber product. Your compound’s stiffness, strength, and fatigue properties can all evolve with time.
  • Our new Linux distribution takes our solutions beyond the Windows world.
  • We’ve added an encryption feature to safeguard your trade secrets.
  • Viewer Improvements make it easier than ever to visualize your fatigue simulation results.
  • EIE Enhancements give you blazing-fast compute speed for full road-load signals.
  • We’ve also planned an aggressive development agenda for 2021. Stay tuned for a new Endurica-based smartphone app for materials engineers, for a new feature that computes fatigue threshold safety margins, for a new block cycle schedule extraction algorithm, and more!

Training

  • The new Fatigue Ninja Friday webinar series provides step-by-step application training for key the workflows that you need to get durability right. All of the recorded episodes are now available in the online Endurica academy.
  • The new Winning on Durability webinar series provides high-level overviews of both technical and business topics so you can connect Endurica tools to your strategic imperatives. All of these recorded webinars are available gratis on our website.
  • We’ve recast our in-person training events as LIVE, ONLINE workshops accessible safely around the world.

Testing Instruments

Fatigue Property Mapping Testing Service

  • We added the Reliability Module to our Fatigue Property Mapping testing service. Use it to quantify crack precursor size statistics when you need to estimate probability of failure.
  • We also reorganized the Thermal Module and the Ageing Module into Basic and Advanced levels, to offer a lower price-point when a basic option will suffice.

Want to leverage any of these new capabilities in your next durability project?  Give us a call and let’s talk!

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Fatigue Property Mapping 2.0

Fatigue Property Mapping Logo

We have just launched a few updates to our Fatigue Property Mapping service offerings.  The changes were:

  1. Addition of the all new Reliability Module for those needing to compute probability of failure in addition to fatigue life. The module gives you Weibull parameters to describe the statistical distribution of crack precursor sizes in your material.
  2. Addition of a pressure-volume test as an optional add-on to the hyperelastic module. Use this add-on when your rubber is loaded under high confinement to the point where its compressibility must be treated more accurately.  If the hydrostatic pressure is more than 5% of the bulk modulus, then this option makes sense.
  3. Split of the original Thermal Module in two components: a Basic Thermal Module and an Advanced Thermal Add-on Module. The Basic Thermal Module provides a dynamic strain sweep to quantify dissipation (for use in computing temperature distribution via FEA) and also provides the temperature sensitivity coefficient on the crack growth rate law.  The advanced module provides thermal transport properties (conductivity, specific heat), thermal expansion coefficient (for computing thermal pre-stresses), and additional data points for the dissipation and crack growth rate laws.
  4. Split of the original Extended Life (Ageing) Module into two parts: a Basic Ageing Module and a Master Curve Module. The basic module includes characterization of unaged and aged samples for stiffness, critical fracture energy, and intrinsic strength.  The oven exposure time and temperature for the aged sample is specified by the client, or can be set by Endurica based upon a client-specified life target.  The Full Master Curve Module gives both the Arrhenius law activation energy and a master curve showing how stiffness, critical fracture energy and intrinsic strength depend on exposure time and temperature.

Most prices have remained the same, except for the Thermal and Ageing modules.  The Thermal and Ageing modules have now been significantly streamlined, so that we now offer service at a lower price.

The new price list and specifications can be found here.

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