ASTM D638-03

    Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics


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    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the tensile properties of unreinforced and reinforced plastics in the form of standard dumbbell-shaped test specimens when tested under defined conditions of pretreatment, temperature, humidity, and testing machine speed.

    1.2 This test method can be used for testing materials of any thickness up to 14 mm [0.55 in.]. However, for testing specimens in the form of thin sheeting, including film less than 1.0 mm [0.04 in.] in thickness, Test Methods D 882 is the preferred test method. Materials with a thickness greater than 14 mm [0.55 in.] must be reduced by machining.

    1.3 This test method includes the option of determining Poisson's ratio at room temperature.

    Note 1—This test method and ISO 527-1 are technically equivalent.

    Note 2—This test method is not intended to cover precise physical procedures. It is recognized that the constant rate of crosshead movement type of test leaves much to be desired from a theoretical standpoint, that wide differences may exist between rate of crosshead movement and rate of strain between gage marks on the specimen, and that the testing speeds specified disguise important effects characteristic of materials in the plastic state. Further, it is realized that variations in the thicknesses of test specimens, which are permitted by these procedures, produce variations in the surface-volume ratios of such specimens, and that these variations may influence the test results. Hence, where directly comparable results are desired, all samples should be of equal thickness. Special additional tests should be used where more precise physical data are needed.

    Note 3—This test method may be used for testing phenolic molded resin or laminated materials. However, where these materials are used as electrical insulation, such materials should be tested in accordance with Test Methods D 229 and Test Method D 651.

    Note 4—For tensile properties of resin-matrix composites reinforced with oriented continuous or discontinuous high modulus >20-GPa [>3.0 10 6-psi] fibers, tests shall be made in accordance with Test Method D 3039/D 3039M.

    1.4 Test data obtained by this test method are relevant and appropriate for use in engineering design.

    1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in brackets are for information only.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D229 Test Methods for Rigid Sheet and Plate Materials Used for Electrical Insulation

    D412 Test Methods for Vulcanized Rubber and Thermoplastic Elastomers--Tension

    D618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing

    D651 Test Method for Test for Tensile Strength of Molded Electrical Insulating Materials

    D882 Test Method for Tensile Properties of Thin Plastic Sheeting

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D1822 Test Method for Tensile-Impact Energy to Break Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials

    D3039/D3039M Test Method for Tensile Properties of Polymer Matrix Composite Materials

    D4000 Classification System for Specifying Plastic Materials

    D4066 Classification System for Nylon Injection and Extrusion Materials (PA)

    D5947 Test Methods for Physical Dimensions of Solid Plastics Specimens

    E4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines

    E83 Practice for Verification and Classification of Extensometer Systems

    E132 Test Method for Poissons Ratio at Room Temperature

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E1012 Practice for Verification of Testing Frame and Specimen Alignment Under Tensile and Compressive Axial Force Application

    ISO Standard

    ISO527-1 Determination of Tensile Properties

    ISO527–1 Determination of Tensile Properties


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 83.080.01 (Plastics in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 13100000(Rubber and elastomers)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D0638-03

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.


    Citation Format

    ASTM D638-03, Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Plastics, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2003, www.astm.org

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