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.