ASTM D1601 - 18

    Standard Test Method for Dilute Solution Viscosity of Ethylene Polymers

    Active Standard ASTM D1601 | Developed by Subcommittee: D20.70

    Book of Standards Volume: 08.01


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 The knowledge of dilute solution viscosity serves as an additional tool in characterizing ethylene polymers. Viscosity data alone is potentially a limited value in predicting the processing behavior of the polymer. However, when used in conjunction with other flow and physical property values, the solution viscosity of ethylene polymers contributes to characterizing the material.

    4.2 Satisfactory correlation between solution viscosity and certain other properties is possible from polymers of a single manufacturing process. The solution viscosity test is not sensitive to some molecular configurational patterns that occur among polymers from different manufacturing processes. Hence, its correlation with other properties of polymers produced by different processes, by even one manufacturer, is limited without structural characterization.

    4.3 The viscosity of polymer solutions has the potential to be drastically affected by the presence of known or unknown additives in the sample. The use of solution viscosity data where ethylene polymers are known or suspected to contain colorants, carbon black, low molecular weight hydrocarbons, fillers, or other additives needs to be considered.

    4.4 The measurement of dilute solution viscosity of ethylene polymers presents problems not ordinarily encountered in viscosimetry. Ethylene polymers are not soluble at room temperature in any known solvent. Some of the higher density materials are insoluble below 100°C. Extreme care must be exercised in transferring the solution to the viscometer for the test if the correct solution concentration is to be maintained. This test has no significance unless the sample is completely soluble.

    4.5 The solution viscosity is a function of the root-mean-square size of the polymer molecules in solution. It is known that the solvent selected and the temperature of the determination have an effect on the root-mean-square size of the particles. Hence, where a viscometer, solvent, or temperature other than specified in this standard is used, the data is likely not comparable to that obtained by this procedure.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the dilute solution viscosity of ethylene polymers at 135°C. It is applicable to a reasonably wide spectrum of ethylene polymers having densities from 0.910 to 0.970 g/cm2. Directions are given for the determination of relative viscosity (viscosity ratio), inherent viscosity (logarithmic viscosity number), and intrinsic viscosity (limiting viscosity number).

    1.2 The values as stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.

    1.3 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.3.1 Warning—Mercury has been designated by many regulatory agencies as a hazardous material that can cause serious medical issues. Mercury, or its vapor, has been demonstrated to be hazardous to health and corrosive to materials. Caution should be taken when handling mercury and mercury containing products. See the applicable product Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for additional information. Users should be aware that selling mercury and/or mercury containing products into your state or country may be prohibited by law.

    Note 1: This standard is equivalent to ISO 1628-3.

    Note 2: Appendix X1 – Appendix X3 contain material from the previous version of Test Method D1601 and are included for information only.

    1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    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

    D445 Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids (and Calculation of Dynamic Viscosity)

    D446 Specifications and Operating Instructions for Glass Capillary Kinematic Viscometers

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D1600 Terminology for Abbreviated Terms Relating to Plastics

    D4020 Specification for Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene Molding and Extrusion Materials

    E2251 Specification for Liquid-in-Glass ASTM Thermometers with Low-Hazard Precision Liquids

    E2935 Practice for Conducting Equivalence Testing in Laboratory Applications

    ISO Standards

    ISO 1628-3 PlasticsDetermination of Viscosity Number and Limiting Viscosity NumberPart 3: Polyethylenes and Polypropylenes


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 83.080.20 (Thermoplastic materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 13111016(Polyethylene)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D1601-18

    Citation Format

    ASTM D1601-18, Standard Test Method for Dilute Solution Viscosity of Ethylene Polymers, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

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