ASTM D1238 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Melt Flow Rates of Thermoplastics by Extrusion Plastometer

    Active Standard ASTM D1238 | Developed by Subcommittee: D20.30

    Book of Standards Volume: 08.01


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 This test method is particularly useful for quality control tests on thermoplastics.

    4.2 The data produced by this test method serves to indicate the uniformity of the flow rate of the polymer as made by an individual process. It is not to be used as an indication of uniformity of other properties without valid correlation with data from other tests.

    4.3 The flow rate obtained with the extrusion plastometer is not a fundamental polymer property. It is an empirically defined parameter critically influenced by the physical properties and molecular structure of the polymer and the conditions of measurement. The rheological characteristics of polymer melts depend on a number of variables. It is possible that the values of these variables occurring in this test will differ substantially from those in large-scale processes, which would result in data that does not correlate directly with processing behavior.

    4.4 Measure the flow rate of a material using any of the conditions listed for the material in X4.1. For many materials, there are specifications that require the use of this test method, but with some procedural modifications that take precedence when adhering to the specification. Therefore, it is advisable to refer to that material specification before using this test method. Table 1 in Classification D4000 lists the ASTM materials standards that currently exist. An alternative test method for poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC) compounds is found in Test Method D3364.

    4.5 Additional characterization of a material can be obtained if more than one condition is used. In the case that two or more conditions are employed, a Flow Rate Ratio (FRR) is obtained by dividing the flow rate at one condition by the flow rate at another condition. Procedure D provides one method to measure more than one condition in a single charge.

    4.6 Frequently, variations in test technique, apparatus geometry, or test conditions, which defy all but the most careful scrutiny, exist, causing discrepancies in flow rate determinations. A troubleshooting guide is found in Appendix X2 and it is a resource to be used to identify sources of test error.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the rate of extrusion of molten thermoplastic resins using an extrusion plastometer. After a specified preheating time, resin is extruded through a die with a specified length and orifice diameter under prescribed conditions of temperature, load, and piston position in the barrel. Four procedures are described. Comparable results have been obtained by these procedures in interlaboratory round-robin measurements of several materials and are described in Section 15.

    1.2 Procedure A is used to determine the melt flow rate (MFR) of a thermoplastic material. The units of measure are grams of material/10 minutes (g/10 min). It is based on the measurement of the mass of material that extrudes from the die over a given period of time. It is generally used for materials having melt flow rates that fall between 0.15 and 50 g/10 min (see Note 1).

    1.3 Procedure B is an automatically timed measurement used to determine the melt flow rate (MFR) as well as the melt volume rate (MVR) of thermoplastic materials. MFR measurements made with Procedure B are reported in g/10 minutes. MVR measurements are reported in cubic centimetres/ten minutes (cm3/10 min). Procedure B measurements are based on the determination of the volume of material extruded from the die over a given period of time. The volume is converted to a mass measurement by multiplying the result by the melt density value for the material (see Note 2). Procedure B is generally used with materials having melt flow rates from 0.50 to 1500 g/10 min.

    1.4 Procedure C is an automatically timed measurement used to determine the melt flow rate (MFR) of polyolefin materials. It is generally used as an alternative to Procedure B on samples having melt flow rates greater than 75 g/10 min. Procedure C involves the use of a modified die, commonly referred to as a “half-die,” which has half the height and half the internal diameter of the standard die specified for use in Procedures A and B thus maintaining the same length to diameter ratio. The test procedure is similar to Procedure B, but the results obtained with Procedure C shall not be assumed to be half of those results produced with Procedure B.

    1.5 Procedure D is a multi-weight test commonly referred to as a “Flow Rate Ratio” (FRR) test. Procedure D is designed to allow MFR determinations to be made using two or three different test loads (either increasing or decreasing the load during the test) on one charge of material. The FRR is a dimensionless number derived by dividing the MFR at the higher test load by the MFR at the lower test load. Results generated from multi-weight tests shall not be directly compared with results derived from Procedure A or Procedure B.

    Note 1Polymers having melt flow rates less than 0.15 or greater than 900 g/10 min may be tested by the procedures in this test method; however, precision data have not been developed.
    Note 2Melt density is the density of the material in it molten state. It is not to be confused with the standard density value of the material. See Table 3.
    Note 3This test method and ISO 1133 address the same subject matter, but differ in technical content.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address 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

    D618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D3364 Test Method for Flow Rates for Poly(Vinyl Chloride) with Molecular Structural Implications

    D4000 Classification System for Specifying Plastic Materials

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

    ANSI Standard

    B46.1 on Surface Texture Available from American National Standards Institute (ANSI), 25 W. 43rd St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036, http://www.ansi.org.

    ISO Standard

    ISO‚ÄČ1133 Determination of the Melt-Mass Flow Rate (MFR) and the Melt Volume-Flow Rate (MVR) of Thermoplastics


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 83.080.20 (Thermoplastic materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 13102000(Thermoplastic plastics)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D1238

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D1238-13, Standard Test Method for Melt Flow Rates of Thermoplastics by Extrusion Plastometer, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org

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