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The results of an attempt to determine the tensile heat distortion temperature of polymer films using a DuPont 943 thermomechanical analyzer in the tensile mode are presented. The results are compared to those obtained using an apparatus that was designed in house to conform to the specifications in ASTM Tensile Heat Distortion Temperature of Plastic Sheeting (D 1637-83, discontinued 1990). The thermomechanical analysis (TMA) was temperature calibrated by a two-point method using fine grade, high purity foils of indium (melting point [mp] 156.6°C) and lead (mp 327.5°C) as standards. Films of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and cellulose acetate, some of which were made under different processing conditions, were used in this study. The data indicate that TMA is a viable alternative to the ASTM D 1637 method when conducted under identical experimental conditions. The data from the additional experiments, which involved the variation of both the tensile load and heating rate, demonstrate the ease and flexibility of using TMA as an alternative technique.
thermal heat distortion, tensile stress, thermomechanical analysis, polyethylene terephthalate, cellulose acetate
Chemist, Polymer and Materials Analytical Services, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY