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Polymeric Latches With Visual Latching Verification Disclosure Number: IPCOM000243575D
Publication Date: 2015-Oct-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 230K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a material and method to visually indicate whether or not a polymeric latch has been properly engaged.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 71% of the total text.

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Polymeric Latches With Visual Latching Verification

During manufacture of systems, snap fits and latches are used to affix one plastic component or another to a substrate. The latches are designed to withstand a certain amount of elastic strain without permanent deformation or failure. Unfortunately, operators have difficulty determining whether or not a latch is fully seated and often apply excessive stress to the plastic latch in an attempt to make certain that it catches. This stress exceeds the design limits of the plastic and results in cracks (see the Figure 1 below). At present, there is no known means to visually alert the operator that they are exceeding the stress limits of the latch and likely to cause irreparable damage.


Regarding the latches illustrated in Figure 1 above, a mechanochromic polymer would be insert molded in the region where the latch experiences the greatest strain (see Figure 2 below). As the latch is engaged, the mechanochromic polymer undergoes a color change indicating the level of strain. The maximum permissible strain would be correlated to the color change serving as a visual indicator to the operator that the latch is either fully engaged or misaligned.


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Latches with the mechanochromic polymer insert molded as indicated above are subjected to known levels of strain and a correlation chart is generated (see Figure 3 below).


As the latches are engaged, they are subjected to varying strain...