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Failure of a Polypropylene Belt

ESi was retained to determine the cause of failure of a woven poly­propylene (PP) belt. The belt connects the user to a cable on a fitness machine via a metal ring, which is attached to a small strip of fabric stitched to the belt. During use, the acetal/polyoxy­­methylene (POM) side-release buckle separated and came off the user, cau­sing injury. The stitching also failed, and a survey of other belts revealed inconsistency in the stitching process, resulting in a large variability in strength. ESi performed microscopic examination of the subject belt, as well as tensile and fatigue testing of exemplar belts to establish the effect of the stitching methods. ESi also instrumented a belt and measured the forces acting on the loop strip during use.

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