ASTM D5870 - 11

    Standard Practice for Calculating Property Retention Index of Plastics

    Active Standard ASTM D5870 | Developed by Subcommittee: D20.50

    Book of Standards Volume: 08.03


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    Significance and Use

    The property retention index (PRI) determined by this practice is intended primarily to provide relative durability performance information on materials for design engineers. It is up to the user to ensure that appropriate sampling procedures are used for the selection of specimens to be exposed so that the PRI data obtained is actually representative of the material being evaluated.

    The PRI obtained depends on the material being tested, property being evaluated, and exposure condition used. A PRI obtained for one property will probably not be the same as the PRI for a different property of the same material, even if the same exposure test is used.

    Plastics exposed to a combination of environmental and thermal treatments may undergo a change in functional performance. Any laboratory-accelerated aging procedure, especially those that use only a single stress, may not realistically indicate the changes a plastic may undergo in actual use conditions. This practice provides a means for expressing the changes in properties as a function of time exposed in a wide variety of tests. The PRI data obtained is best used for comparing the performance of materials subjected to the same exposure test simultaneously.

    Both laboratory-accelerated and outdoor exposure testing can be highly variable, and the PRI data will be influenced by this variability. For example, PRI data from outdoor exposures can vary depending on the exposure location and the time of year when the exposure is conducted. Variability in laboratory-accelerated exposure tests can result in large differences in PRI data from two laboratories running supposedly identical tests. PRI data obtained from exposure to laboratory-accelerated tests cannot be used to predict the PRI for exposure to natural weathering or actual use conditions unless there is a sufficient amount of data from both types of exposure to allow valid statistical comparisons.

    A number of different exposure techniques can be used to provide information on the effects of environmental stresses such as light, heat, and water on plastics (see Practices D1435, F1499, D2565, D4329, D4364, and D4459; Test Method D4674; and ISO 877 and ISO 4892). When it is desirable to evaluate the effects of heat alone, exposures should be conducted in accordance with Practice D3045. When it is desirable to evaluate the effects of chemical exposures, the exposures should be conducted in accordance with Test Method D543.

    There are a number of factors influencing the physical properties and the retention of these properties after exposure. In addition to a complete description of the exposure test conditions used, the following information shall be included in any report referencing this practice: (1) complete description of the material tested, including the type, source, manufacturer's code number, form, and previous history; (2) methods of preparation for the material and individual test specimens; (3) procedure used for specimen conditioning prior to and after exposure; (4) complete description of the environment in which the physical properties were determined (for example, temperature and relative humidity); (5) complete description of the procedure used to determine the physical properties tested, including the rate at which specimens were tested, if applicable; (6) if applicable, void content of the specimens tested and the method used to measure void content.

    Note 2—It is not the intent of this practice to require users to divulge proprietary information regarding composition. To avoid divulging proprietary information, generic descriptions may be used to provide information on material composition.

    When destructive tests are used to determine a physical or chemical change, or both, which occurs as a result of exposure, the amount of change is expressed as a function of the value obtained for the material tested at a specified test environment (for example, temperature and humidity). The exposed and reference specimens are measured at the same time in the specified test environment.

    When nondestructive tests are used to determine a physical or chemical change, or both, which occurs as a result of exposure, the amount of change is expressed as a function of the value obtained on the specimens prior to exposure. Property measurement tests on the specimens before and after exposure shall be conducted at the same conditions (for example, temperature and humidity).

    The property or properties to be measured may be specified in an ASTM, ISO, or other appropriate standard for the material being tested, or by any prior agreement between interested parties. If the method used to measure the property being evaluated is not described in an ASTM, ISO, or other appropriate standard, a description of the test method shall be included in the report of test results.

    It is realized that a material cannot be tested without specifying the method of preparation. To have any meaning in comparative testing, specimens of each material being evaluated by these test procedures should be prepared or molded from the same lot under identical processing conditions and randomized prior to testing at the conditions desired. It must be realized that lot-to-lot variation in the material may cause additional variability in results.

    Note 3—For those plastics with a Tg greater than ambient, the slow collapse of free volume, with attendant significant changes in mechanical properties such as fatigue resistance, impact resistance, yield stress, and vapor transmission, etc. will be accelerated at elevated temperatures below the Tg but will be reversed at temperatures above the Tg. Therefore, incubation at elevated temperatures in the Tg range may be erratically susceptible to oven fluctuation effects.

    The results depend on which side of the test specimen is exposed with some tests. In bending tests, for example, different results are obtained in accordance with whether the exposed surface or the unexposed surface of the test specimen is placed under tension. Care must be taken to ensure that all specimens being exposed have the same orientation in the test fixture used to hold the specimens during exposure. In addition, the results also depend on the orientation of test specimens during the procedure used to measure the property being monitored. This is especially true with impact tests. During the procedure used to measure the characteristic property, care must be taken to ensure that all specimens are oriented the same way in the test fixture.

    Before proceeding with this practice, reference should be made to the specification of the material being tested. Any test specimen preparation, conditioning, or dimensions, or some combination thereof, and testing parameters covered in the material's specification shall take precedence over those mentioned in this practice. The default conditions described in this practice apply if there are no material specifications.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers procedures for the calculation of a property retention index (PRI) of thermoplastic and thermoset plastics after exposure to thermal aging, natural or artificial accelerated weathering, or chemical exposures.

    1.2 This practice is not intended to establish a fixed procedure for conducting the exposure test, but it is intended to provide a set of specific procedures used to calculate the retention index of a characteristic property of the material after it has been exposed. Selection of the specific exposure test conditions depends on the material being tested and the property being measured. It is up to the user to determine which exposure test conditions are most relevant to the specific material and the service condition being used. The exposure test used must be conducted in accordance with conditions described in specific exposure standards.

    1.3 This practice does not describe procedures for sampling the materials to be tested. These procedures are described in the standards and specifications applicable to the material being evaluated.

    1.4 The procedure used to calculate the PRI depends on whether the test used to characterize the materials being exposed is destructive or nondestructive. The PRI can be useful in describing short-term mechanical, electrical, and other properties of plastics at specified temperatures after the materials have been subjected to an exposure test.

    1.5 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.

    Note 1—There is no similar or equivalent ISO standard. ISO DIS 11248 is significantly different since it pertains only to thermosetting resins.


    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

    D543 Practices for Evaluating the Resistance of Plastics to Chemical Reagents

    D618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D1435 Practice for Outdoor Weathering of Plastics

    D1898 Practice for Sampling of Plastics

    D2565 Practice for Xenon-Arc Exposure of Plastics Intended for Outdoor Applications

    D3045 Practice for Heat Aging of Plastics Without Load

    D4329 Practice for Fluorescent UV Exposure of Plastics

    D4364 Practice for Performing Outdoor Accelerated Weathering Tests of Plastics Using Concentrated Sunlight

    D4459 Practice for Xenon-Arc Exposure of Plastics Intended for Indoor Applications

    D4674 Practice for Accelerated Testing for Color Stability of Plastics Exposed to Indoor Office Environments

    D6360 Practice for Enclosed Carbon-Arc Exposures of Plastics

    F1499 Specification for Coextruded Composite Drain, Waste, and Vent Pipe (DWV)

    G113 Terminology Relating to Natural and Artificial Weathering Tests of Nonmetallic Materials


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 83.080.20 (Thermoplastic materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 13100000(Rubber and elastomers)


    DOI: 10.1520/D5870-11

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