Metal Fatigue and Sorbothane
Metal, one of the most commonly used materials in most applications, is an umbrella term for many different specific metal types. Each type of metal has its own pros and cons, including how many cycles it can handle before fatigue sets in. When working with metal, fatigue relates to the number of cycles that the material can handle before failure. Failure may or may not mean total breakage, depending on the type of material and the main use. For instance, a helicopter blade has to be in perfect shape before each flight or it may fail in midair.
There are a number of factors that can influence how many cycles that a metal can be used in without succumbing to fatigue including the process that was used to create the item, how much stress is applied to the material, the temperature that it is exposed to and the presence of other substances.
The type of design or the shape of the metal might also influence the material’s useful life. Certain shapes may increase the amount of stress by increasing the bends or joins of a structure.
A metal that has to endure a higher level of applied stresses may have a shorter life cycle than one that has far less applied stress. Using a material to displace some of the stress or to absorb any of the other properties that might cause metal fatigue is one of the best ways to extend the life cycle of the application plus all of the components and parts.
When an athlete discusses fatigue, he means the compaction of his joints which leaves to a heavy feeling of his legs and feet and may increase the risk of injuries that may or may not be permanent. But, an athlete can rest himself and eventually heal (unless it is permanent), coming back to enjoy his sport once again.
Metal is not the same as flesh and bone though and metal fatigue is cumulative in nature meaning that once a small imperfection starts, it will increase until eventual failure.
Sorbothane is a specialized material which is used in a number of different applications, including metal insulation. Because it absorbs vibrations and slippage, it can prevent some of the damages that might occur to the metal parts. That will increase the time between first use and end of life cycle for the collective metal parts.
There are some applications that might benefit more from the use of Sorbothane, while others may need to have some minor adjustments before being applied. Because it displaces energy in the form of heat, some of the design of the machine or other application will have to be considered. Delicate materials might be further damaged by the slightly increased heat.
Before introducing Sorbothane to your application, you should consider whether it will change the shape, texture or width of moving parts and whether those changes will prevent the right type of movements from occurring.
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