Plastics Testing (Polyethylene) Melt Index, Density, Ash, and Color

    2019 Annual Fee: $531.00

    Schedule: March, September

    Accredited Proficiency Testing Provider*

    This program is accredited in accordance with the recognized International Standard ISO/IEC 17043: 2010 Conformity Assessment - General Requirements for Proficiency Testing, by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. Certificate Number: 4209.01
    List of Programs and Scopes


    ASTM's Proficiency Test Program focuses on the determination of melt index, density, ash, and color of polyethylene materials. It provide participating laboratories with a statistical quality assurance (SQA) tool, enabling labs to compare, improve, and maintain their performance in the use of ASTM methods against other labs worldwide.

    Conducted biannually, this program provides (for each test cycle) four test samples, forms to record test data, and instructions for conducting the tests. Laboratories are instructed to conduct the tests in their facilities using the ASTM methods cited in the program and to record their test results on the electronic data forms.

    Each laboratory submits completed test data to ASTM for use in generating statistical summary reports. ASTM handles all data on a strictly confidential basis with no disclosure of lab identity except for one's own laboratory. Final reports contain all laboratory test data (coded), statistical analysis of test data, charts plotting test results versus lab code and other information.

    The program includes lab participation worldwide, with over 130 labs participating in the 2012 program.

    Samples, test instructions and data report forms are distributed electronically to each participant on the date samples are distributed. Labs have approximately 8 weeks to submit test data with the final statistical summary reports being electronically distributed in approximately 25 days.

    For more information, contact us.


    The materials used in the program are low-density polyethylene, linear low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, and high load melt index polyethylene. Each lab receives approximately one pound of polyethylene for each sample tested. The test samples are packaged and distributed for ASTM by ASTM Test Monitor Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


    Melt Index

    • D1238 Test Method for Flow Rates of Thermoplastics by Extrusion Plastometer (both Volumetric and Gravemetric)


    • D2839 Practice for Use of a Melt Index Strand for determining Density Of Polyethylene (Melt Index Strand Sample Preparation)
    • D1505 Test Method for Density of Plastics by the Density-Gradient Technique (Column Density Using Plaques Prepared Using D1928 Procedure C)
      • Shall use plaques prepared using D1298 Procedure C or D4703, Annex 1, Procedure C
    • D792 Test Methods for Density and Specific Gravity (Relative Density) by Displacement
      • Shall use plaques prepared using D1298 Procedure C or D4703, Annex 1, Procedure C
    • D4703 Annex A1, Procedure C on Compression Molded Plaque Preparation
    • D4883 Test Method for Density by the Ultrasound Technique
      • Shall use plaques prepared using D1298 Procedure C or D4703, Annex 1, Procedure C


    • D5630 Test Method for Ash Content in Thermoplastics


    • D6290 Test Method for Color Determination of Plastic Pellets


    Test samples are prepared and distributed by businesses hired for their expertise. Program registration fees include the cost of shipping the test samples.


    ASTM's Proficiency Test Program provides you with:

    • A useful and meaningful statistical quality assurance tool to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of your laboratory's performance in conducting testing.
    • The resources you need to satisfy proficiency testing elements of laboratory accreditation
    • A periodic comparison of test results with other participating laboratories

    Should you have an issue with your published results, please write to with your lab number and account number.


    Participation is on an annual fee basis and open to all laboratories. Registration fees must be paid in advance to participate. Testing must be performed within the participant's laboratory facilities. A laboratory does not need to perform all the program tests to participate.


    Committee D20 on Plastics, consisting of over 750 members, is a developer of 470 standards. The Committee provides the technical direction for the program. Test information from the program may be utilized by Committee D20 to determine if changes to the ASTM test methods are warranted. Data submitted to Committee D20 is coded by ASTM to maintain confidentiality.