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A production lot of plastic wire clips was failing after limited service. The failures were characterized by excessive relaxation of the clips, such that the corresponding wires were no longer adequately secured in the parts. No catastrophic failures had been encountered. Parts representing an older lot, which exhibited satisfactory performance properties, were also available for reference purposes. The clips were specified to be injection molded from an impact-modified grade of nylon 6/6. However, the part drawing did not indicate a specific resin. Investigation included visual inspection, micro-FTIR in the ATR mode, and analysis using DSC. The spectrum representing the reference parts showed a relatively higher level of a hydrocarbon-based impact modifier, while the results obtained on the failed parts showed the presence of an acrylic-based modifier. Also, the reference clip thermogram showed a melting transition attributed to a hydrocarbon-based impact modifier. The conclusion was that the control and failed clips had been produced from two distinctly different resins. It appeared that the material used to produce the failed clips had different viscoelastic properties, which produced a greater predisposition for stress relaxation.

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