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A set of plastic grips from an electric consumer product failed while in service. The grips had been injection molded from a general-purpose grade of ABS resin. The parts had cracked while in use after apparent embrittlement of the material. Investigation (visual inspection, SEM imaging, and micro-FTIR in the ATR mode) showed that the spectrum representing the grip surface contained absorption bands associated with ABS as well as additional bands of significant intensity. A spectral subtraction removed the bands associated with the ABS resin resulting in a very good match with glyceride derivatives of fats and oils. This supported the conclusion that the grips failed via brittle fracture associated with severe chemical attack of the ABS resin. A significant level of glyceride derivatives of fatty acids, known to degrade ABS resins, was found on the part surface.

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