FTIR Analysis Identifies What Caused Valve Failure During Shipping

Air Valve Analyzed Using FTIR

FTIR Case Study: Product Failure Analysis During Shipping

Or in this case to New Zealand.  Our customer presented air pumps that had tested 100% functional prior to shipping.  Upon arrival in New Zealand, the failure rate was at 80% due to sticking valves.  The purpose of the FTIR analysis was to identify the cause of the stuck valves.

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Upon examination, a white material was present in the valves that had stuck.  The control valves did not have the white material present, but instead had a clear oily like material present.  Both the materials found in the control valve and the stuck valves were analyzed using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis.

The oily material in the control valve was a silicone lubricant that had been put into the valves.  In addition to the silicone, FTIR analysis found small amounts of a hydrocarbon wax and dimethyldithiocarbamate present as well.  The hydrocarbon wax from the surface of the o-rings and dimethyldithiocarbamate was a fungicide used in the o-rings.  The white material in the stuck valves showed mainly dimethyldithiocarbamate, and smaller amounts of silicone and hydrocarbon wax.

The high heat seen in the shipping containers was causing the fungicide to bloom to the surface of the o-rings which in turn caused the valves to stick.  When o-rings that did not contain the fungicide were used, the pumps could be exposed to high heat and no stuck valves occurred.

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