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Plastic product Impact resistance - what can you do with the geometry

Skilled boxers have good impact resistance. They can absorb the energy of impacts with their whole body, not just one part of it, nose for instance. The same principle applies not only to material toughness, but to mechanics as well:

1: Try to distribute the energy of impacts to the whole construction. Do not maximise the stiffness of the product without a good reason. Think of the component as a spring.

2: Impact resistant materials are able to absorb energy in their internal structure. That requires bulkiness to some degree from the construction. A helmet with 0,5 mm wall thickness is not very impact resistant. Robustness is good. Don’t make the shock-absorbing elements too thin or lacy.

3: Sharp corners and notches operate as stress raisers. This goes with static loads as well, but in the case of impacts, they are merciless.

4: A rib that is meant to strengthen the product might easily reverse the intended purpose by crack propagation. Ribs should preferably be under compression rather than tension.

5: If possible, try to avoid weld lines in the areas that are exposed to shocks. The same goes for gating, too.

Did I miss something? Please add your own design tips in the comments below!

Related articles:

Plastic products and Impact Resistance

Impact Resistance - tips for plastic material selection

Toughness - an unutilized material property

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Thank you for reading,

Markus Paloheimo, Managing Editor,

  • Markus Paloheimo (Ms.Sc) is a Product Designer with two decades of experience in the field of functional consumer and industrial products. His specific area of expertise and source of enthusiasm is injection molded plastic products. Markus Paloheimo is in LinkedIn.


Sander Rave
Hi Markus, I'd like to share with you some guidelines for thermoforming, in essence they also apply to other production techniques. Do you like to share your mail address with me so I can send you some input for your blog? Regards,
Markus Paloheimo
Hello Sander, all material is highly appreciated. Perhaps there is something that could be shared under some article. Please use Thank you, Markus
Markus - Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. I found the information on designing against impact resistance to be helpful.
Markus Paloheimo
Thank you Thomas. I am happy you found it useful.

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