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ROLL NO: 341


Purpose of Testing:

Verify the manufacturing process

Quality control
Reliability of performance
Proper selection of materials for particular application
To provide design concepts

Various Testing of Plastics:

Plastic Performance Tests

Analytical Tests
Miscellaneous Tests
Non-destructive Tests

1. Plastic Performance Tests:

A. Tensile Testing
B. Heat Deflection Testing
C. Melt Index Testing
D. Flexural Testing
E. Impact Testing
F. Hardness Testing

A.Tensile Testing:

The tensile test is considered one of the more reliable

plastic performance tests.
In this testing specimen are placed in the grips and pulled
until failure at a uniform rate of speed.
Tensile tests measure the force required to break a
specimen and the extent to which the specimen stretches
or elongates to that breaking point.

The following calculations can be made from tensile test


tensile strength (at yield and at break)

tensile modulus
elongation and percentage of elongation at yield
elongation and percentage of elongation at break

The chemical composition and the long-chain nature of

plastic lead to some important differences with metals
like lower stiffness, much higher elastic limits or
recoverable strains.
Flexible plastics such as unfilled polypropylene have less
than 3,000 psi of tensile strength. High strength composite
has more than 40,000 psi tensile strength.
Generally, the tensile strength increases with the average
molecular weight.
If a high degree of cross-linking exists in a polymeric
structure, the material cannot be stretched to any great
extent, but the T.S is generally high like Phenol
Formaldehyde (High strength but low elongation).

The simple linear polymers are capable of greater

elongation whereas cross-linked types have low elongation

B. Heat Deflection Testing:

This test measures the effect of elevated temperatures on
the stiffness of a plastic material.
Specially, it measures the temperature at which a test bar
under either 66 psi or 264 psi load will deflect 0.01 inch.
In this test, a test bar is placed in an oil bath and
supported on both ends. Then load is placed in the centre
of the bar, and the temperature of oil is raised from room

When the bar has deflected 0.01 inch, the temperature is

noted as deflection temperature.
This test is widely used to indicate high-temperature
performance of the plastic material.

This test method applies to moulded and sheet materials

available in thicknesses of 3 mm or greater and which are
rigid or semi rigid at normal temperature.

C. Melt Index Testing:

This test measures the rate of extrusion of thermoplastic
materials through an orifice under prescribed condition of
temperature and load.
The melt index apparatus is preheated to a specified
temperature and a material is loaded into cylinder from
the top and a specified weight is placed on a piston.
The material is allowed to flow through the die.
Depending on the material or its flow rate, cuts for the test
are taken at 10 min. time interval.
The extrudate is weighed and melt index values are
calculated in gram per 10 min.

A high molecular weight material is more resistant to flow

than low molecular weight material.
The reported melt index values help to distinguish
between the different grades of polymer.
This test is used to

~ Raw material certification

~ Comparison of "good" and "bad" samples
~ Grade differentiation of materials
~ Batch to batch comparisons
~ Determination of the nature of material degradation
(processing, transportation, storage, and drying conditions)

D. Flexural Testing
This testing used to measure the flexural strength of a
plastic material means how well a material resists
bending-its stiffness.
Flexural properties of plastics are obtained by placing a
specimen on two supports spaced 4 in. apart. A load is
applied in the centre at a specified rate and the loading at
failure (psi) is the flexural strength.

For materials which do not break, the flexural property

usually given is Flexural Stress at 5% strain.
Because most thermoplastics do not break in this test
even after being greatly deflected, the flexural strength
cannot be calculated. Instead, stress at 5% is calculated,
i.e., the loading in psi necessary to stretch the outer
surface 5%.
Long linear chains, accompanying free movement of
macromolecules have a high flexural strength.
The test is not applicable to very flexible materials.

E. Impact Testing:

This test is used to measure the impact strength and

toughness of the materials.
Materials are subjected to sudden applied load.
Measurements usually made by Izod or Charpy method.
In this test a pendulum of known mass is to fall through a
known height, a specimen at lowest point of its swing and
record the height to which the pendulum continues its

In the Charpy method, the notched bar which is to be

tested is held horizontally by supports between which the
pendulum swings.
In Izod method, the notched bar is held vertically & is
supported at the bottom.
Low molecular weight polymers of straight chain or crosslinked type are brittle & have poor impact resistance.
Some plastics are so impact resistance and they will not
break during test.

F.Hardness Testing:
In the Rockwell test, as a penetrators ball indenter is used
at major loads of 60, 100, and 150 kg.
The Rockwell test is used for relatively hard plastics such
as thermosets and structural thermoplastics such as
nylons, polystyrene, acetyls, and acrylics.
In the durometer method the amount of indentation is
caused by a spring-loaded pointed indenter.

This durometer method is used for softer plastics, and 100

is the highest hardness rating of this scale.
Typical hardness values of common plastics are listed
in following table:

2. Analytical Tests
These tests provide very basic information that is
necessary for characterizing and qualifying the plastic
Some analytical tests, such as
A. Water Absorption Test
B. Moisture Analysis Test
C. Sieve Analysis Test


Water Absorption Test:

This test is used to determine the water absorption ability

of plastics.
Plastics materials that absorb a large amount of water
normally affect the mechanical, electrical, and optical
properties of the materials and also affect the dimensional
In this test the specimens are dried in an oven at a
specified temperature for a predetermined time and
followed by a cooling period in a desiccator and
immediately weighed. Percentage increase in weight
during immersion is calculated.
Plastics having O2 and oxyhydrone groups are very
susceptible to water like nylons, cellulose acetate etc.


Moisture Analysis Test:

This test is used to measure the presence moisture

content in the plastic materials.
Materials like ABS and polycarbonate must be dried
thoroughly before processing in order to avoid splay marks
on moulded parts, loss of impact, and loss of other
The testing method is same as water absorption method.

Many processors conduct routine moisture analysis test

prior to processing.


Sieve Analysis Test:

The particle size and size distribution are important since

these two characteristics of materials have a great effect
on compounding, processing, and bulk handling.
Large and fairly uniform particles are easier to handle and
process whereas fine particles are difficult to handle and

Fine particles, when mixed to large particles, tend to cause

uneven melting and hence, non-uniform mold filling,
orange peel, and other surface problems.
In PVC dry blending operation, fine particles do not allow
to absorb plasticizer in sufficient amounts resulting in poor
fusing and creating the possibility of gels in the end

3. Miscellaneous Tests
Miscellaneous test methods are generally used to check
properties of plastic in outdoor condition, chemical etc.
Some miscellaneous test methods are:
A. Outdoor weathering test
B. Accelerated laboratory test
C. Outdoor exposure test
D. Immersion test


Outdoor weathering test:

This test is used to evaluate the stability of plastic

materials exposed outdoors to varied influences that
comprise weather exposure conditions like change in
climate, time of year, and the presence of industrial
Test sites are selected to represent various conditions like
high humidity, intense sunlight, and high temperature
under which the plastic will be used.

Test specimens are mounted in a holder directly applied to

the racks which are positioned at 45 angle.
The specimens are removed from the racks after specified
amount of time and subjected to various tests such as
appearance evaluation, electrical and mechanical tests.


Accelerated laboratory test:

This test determines the effect of fungi or bacteria on the

plastic materials.
The test requires fungus spore suspension to study fungi
effect and bacterial cell suspension to study bacterial
The specimens are placed onto suitable glass tray covered
with nutrient salt agar. The entire surface is then sprayed
using fungus pore or bacterial cell suspension.
The specimens are placed in incubator maintained at 28
30C and 85% or more relative humidity for 21 days.
After 21 days the specimens are inspected and compare
the physical, electrical, or optical properties with standard


Outdoor exposure test:

The outdoor exposure tests to determine the resistance of

plastic materials to microbial attack.
The simplest way is to expose plastic material to an
outdoor environment where weather conditions are
favourable to microbial growth.
In another method the specimen is burying for 4 weeks
and observing the effects of microorganisms on the
Some limitation of this test is
~ The chemical composition of the products
~ Time of year exposure are made
~ Geographic location of exposure.


Immersion test:

This test measures the resistance of plastics to chemical

The method can be used to compare the relative
resistance of various plastics to typical chemical reagents.
The test specimens are totally immersed in a precision
chemical containing container for seven days in a
standard laboratory atmosphere.
After seven days, the specimens are removed from the
container and weighed. The dimensions are remeasured.
The mechanical properties of nonimmersed and immersed
specimens are determined with standard method and
compare it.

4. Non-destructive Tests
The tests that are carried out on samples without
damaging them are known as non-destructive tests.
These tests are available for determining flaws,
imperfections and non-uniformity without destroying the
These tests are range from simple visual inspection,
weighing etc. to the complex ones like electrical and
electronic tests.
The most important in the plastic industries is ultrasonic
test (electronic test).

Ultrasonic Test
This method is widely used for thickness measurement
and detection of discontinuities.
This technique can be used for determining moisture
content of polymers, evaluating joint integrity of solvent
welded pipe and fitting and welded seams.
The basic sequence of operations:
~ Generation of ultrasonic sound wave by means of
~ Use of couplant like water or oil to help transmit the
ultrasonic waves.
~ Detection of the ultrasonic energy after it has been
modified by the material and then displaying of energy on
the cathode ray tube.
Generally the pulse-echo technique is used to detect flaws
as well as thickness measurement.
Some application in plastics industry:
~ To detect a flaw such as voids and bubbles in the extruded
rods of expensive materials like NYLON,PTFE.
~ To detect flaws in laminates
~ To measure wall-thickness of parts which are located in
hard to reach areas and have complex part geometry.
~ To examine integrity of solvent welded joints and fitting
particularly on gas pipelines.