Material Science

FTIR Analysis Identifies Cause of Escalator Failure

03 February 2022

Just a few years after construction at a major sports stadium, the escalator stairs in the building were failing and cracking.  

Samples of the broken plastic from the escalators were sent to Envista’s Materials Lab for analysis.  The analysis showed that the failure was a result of Environmental Stress Cracking (ESC), a common cause of unexpected brittle failure and cracking caused by exposure to mechanical stress in the presence of a chemical that initiates stress relief.

As part of Envista’s analysis, a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy scan was performed on several pieces of both damaged and non-damaged plastic.  These results helped prove that the ESC was exacerbated by a chemical that was used to clean the escalator, leading to premature failures.

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