ASTM E398 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate of Sheet Materials Using Dynamic Relative Humidity Measurement

    Active Standard ASTM E398 | Developed by Subcommittee: F02.10

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.10


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 No single set of test conditions can represent all climatic and use conditions, so this WVTR test method serves more to compare different materials at a stated set of conditions than to predict their actual performance in the field under any conditions.

    5.2 The water vapor transmission rate, under known and carefully controlled conditions, may be used to evaluate the vapor barrier qualities of a sheet. Direct correlation of values obtained under different conditions of test temperature and relative humidity will be valid provided the barrier material under test does not undergo changes in solid state (such as a crystalline transition or melting point) at or between the conditions of test.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers dynamic evaluation of the rate of transfer of water vapor through a flexible barrier material and allows conversion to the generally recognized units of water vapor transmission (WVT) as obtained by various other test methods including the gravimetric method described in Test Methods E96/E96M.

    1.2 Limitations—This test method is limited to flexible barrier sheet materials composed of either completely hydrophobic materials, or combinations of hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials having at least one surface that is hydrophobic.

    1.3 The minimum test value obtained by this test method is limited by the leakage of water vapor past the clamping seals of the test instrument. A reasonable value may be approximately 0.01 g/24 h·m 2 for any WVTR method including the desiccant procedure of Test Methods E96/E96M at 37.8°C, and 90 % relative humidity. This limit can be checked for each instrument with an impervious specimen such as aluminum foil. Calibration procedures can compensate for the leakage rate if so stated.

    1.4 This test method is not suitable for referee testing at this time, but is suitable for control testing and material comparison.

    1.5 Several other ASTM test methods are available to test a similar property. This test method is unique in that it closely duplicates typical product storage where a transfer of moisture from a package into the environment is allowed to proceed without constantly sweeping the environmental side with dry gas. Methods with constantly swept dry sides include Test Methods F1249, F372, and F1770.

    1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.7 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

    C168 Terminology Relating to Thermal Insulation

    E96/E96M Test Methods for Water Vapor Transmission of Materials

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

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

    F17 Terminology Relating to Flexible Barrier Packaging

    F372 Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate of Flexible Barrier Materials Using an Infrared Detection Technique

    F1249 Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate Through Plastic Film and Sheeting Using a Modulated Infrared Sensor

    F1770 Test Method for Evaluation of Solubility, Diffusivity, and Permeability of Flexible Barrier Materials to Water Vapor


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 55.040 (Packaging materials and accessories)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E0398

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