Failure of Nylon Hinges
A production lot of mechanical hinges used in an automotive application had failed during incoming quality-control routine actuation testing. A change in part supplier had taken place between the approval of the prototype parts that performed acceptably and the receipt of the first lot of production parts. The mechanical hinges were specified to be injection molded from an impact-modified, 13% glass-fiber-reinforced nylon 6/6 resin. Investigation of samples representing the failed components and the original prototype parts included visual inspection, 118x SEM images, micro-FTIR, DSC analysis, and TGA. It supported the conclusion that the hinge assemblies failed through brittle fracture associated with stress overload during the actuation of the parts. The failed part material was found to be degraded, most likely occurring during the compounding of the resin or during the actual molding of the parts. While resins for both failed and non-failed parts produced results characteristic of a 13% glass-fiber-reinforced, impact-modified nylon 6/6, the failed part material, contained a significantly lower level of rubber, which rendered the parts less impact resistant and subsequently lowered the ductility of the molded hinge assemblies. No recommendations were made.