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## All About Radius in Product Design

Radius [**rey**-dee-uhs] – noun (plural -di-i). **1.** a straight line extending from the center of a circle or sphere to the circumference or surface: The radius of a circle is half the diameter. **2.** a rounded corner or edge on a machined, die-cast, or cast piece of metal or plastic.

A humble radius is the most important factor in your product design, arguably as important (or even more important) than a straight edge or plane. The radius must be calculated when designing the rounding of the corners, the width of the opening, the inner and outer radii of the wall, not to mention the curved plane. Any surface that is not straight is shaped by a radius. Here’s a look at using a radius when designing your product for injection molding.

- Corners. Sharp corners are a bad idea in product design. Straight 90 degree corners can cause high stress concentrations in one small area (especially the inside corner of an angled wall). It is very important to flatten the corners using a uniform radius. A typically accepted formula says that the outer radius should be 1.5 times the wall thickness and the inner 0.5 times. For example, if your wall thickness is 6mm and you have two walls that meet at a 90 degree angle, your corners need to be rounded. The outer radius is 9 mm, while the inner radius is 3 mm.
- Fillet radius. A fill radius is a radius that smooths the connection between two parts, similar to the inside radius function of a corner. It has the same benefit of reducing stress and can be topped with a rib. Fill radius can be used to fasten the top to a plane or to fasten the rib to the wall. To create an acute or obtuse angle, the fillet radius should be applied wherever two planes meet.
- If your product design concept involves any curved plane, a radius should be applied to ensure a consistent and aesthetically pleasing design. Just as you would use a ruler to draw a straight line, you must use a radius to draw a curve.

Applying radii to your design has many benefits. A radius allows the plastic to flow much more smoothly than a corner. If you create a mold with sharp corners, there is less guarantee that the entire mold will be filled, leaving gaps and jagged edges. A radius can withstand stress much better than a corner or an edge. The inner edge is nothing more than the starting point of the crack; this is where all the tension is concentrated should any pressure be applied to your part. Finally and simply, rounded corners usually look better than sharp corners.

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