ASTM D3045 - 18

    Standard Practice for Heat Aging of Plastics Without Load

    Active Standard ASTM D3045 | Developed by Subcommittee: D20.50

    Book of Standards Volume: 08.01


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    Significance and Use

    4.1 The use of this practice presupposes that the failure criteria selected to evaluate materials (that is, the property or properties being measured as a function of exposure time) and the duration of the exposure can be shown to relate to the intended use of the materials.

    4.2 Plastic materials exposed to heat are subject to many types of physical and chemical changes. The severity of the exposures in both time and temperature determines the extent and type of change that takes place. A plastic material is not necessarily degraded by exposure to elevated temperatures. However, extended periods of exposure of plastics to elevated temperatures will generally cause some degradation, with progressive changes in physical properties. Specific properties and failure (or lifetime) criteria for these properties are typically chosen for the evaluation of thermal endurance.

    4.3 Generally, short exposures at elevated temperatures drive out volatiles such as moisture, solvents, or plasticizers, relieve molding stresses, advance the cure of thermosets, and may cause some change in color of the plastic or coloring agent, or both. Normally, additional shrinkage should be expected with loss of volatiles or advance in polymerization.

    4.4 Some plastic materials become brittle due to loss of plasticizers after exposure at elevated temperatures. Other types of plastics become soft and sticky, either due to sorption of volatilized plasticizer or due to breakdown of the polymer.

    4.5 The degree of change observed will depend on the property measured. Different properties, mechanical or electrical, may not change at the same rate. For instance, the arc resistance of thermosetting compounds improves up to the carbonization point of the material. Mechanical properties, such as flexural properties, are sensitive to heat degradation and may change at a more rapid rate. Ultimate properties such as strength or elongation are more sensitive to degradation than bulk properties such as modulus, in most cases.

    4.6 The material studied can change inherent behavior with change in temperature as for example when crossing α, β, and γ transitions. These transitions should be avoided both in the range of aging temperatures used, as well as in extrapolation of the lifeline. Arrhenius principles may only be used to accelerate a chemical mechanism if there are no fundamental changes in the material properties. With semi-crystalline and highly crystalline polymers, elevated temperatures may cause significant changes to the morphology of the material, invalidating or compromising that assumption.

    Note 2: Caution should be exercised in using the Arrhenius relation and knowledge of physical changes in the material at elevated temperatures is important. Guidance given in ISO 9080 for characterizing lifetime of plastic materials in pipe form by extrapolation suggests that the highest oven aging temperature should be at least 15°C lower than the Vicat softening temperature for glassy amorphous polymers, and at least 15°C lower than the melting point for semi-crystalline polymers.

    4.7 Effects of exposure can be quite variable, especially when specimens are exposed for long intervals of time. Factors that affect the reproducibility of data are the degree of temperature control of the enclosure, humidity of the oven, air velocity over the specimen, and period of exposure. Errors in exposure are cumulative with time. Certain materials are susceptible to the influence of humidity.

    4.8 It is not to be inferred that comparative material ranking is undesirable or unworkable. On the contrary, this practice is designed to provide data which can be used for such comparative purposes. However, the data obtained from this practice, since it does not account for the influence of stress or environment that is involved in most real life applications, must be used cautiously by the designer, who must inevitably make material choices using additional data such as creep and creep rupture that are consistent with the requirements of the specific application.

    4.9 It is possible for many CUT and TI values to exist. Therefore, for any application of the CUT or the TI (temperature index) to be valid, either the thermal aging program must duplicate the intended thermal exposure conditions of the end product, or the Arrhenius relation must apply.

    4.10 There can be very large errors when Arrhenius plots or equations based on data from experiments at a series of temperatures are used to estimate time to produce a defined property change at some lower temperature. This estimate of time to produce the property change or “failure” at the lower temperature is often called the “service life;” however, using this term should be avoided as this implies the tester has information on specific failure criteria in end-use, while numerous factors are not under the scope of this test. It is preferable to use terms such as “end point,” “thermal endurance time,” and such. Because of the errors associated with these calculations, this endurance time should be considered as “maximum expected” rather than “typical.”

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice is intended to define the exposure conditions for evaluating the thermal endurance of plastics when exposed solely to hot air for extended periods of time. Only the procedure for heat exposure is specified. The effect of elevated temperature on any particular property is determined by selection of the appropriate test method and test specimens for that property.

    1.2 This practice can be used as a guide to compare thermal aging characteristics of materials as measured by the change in some property of interest. The property of interest is measured at room temperature.

    1.3 This practice recommends procedures for comparing the thermal aging characteristics of materials at a single temperature. Recommended procedures for determining the thermal aging characteristics of a material using a series of elevated temperatures for the purpose of estimating endurance time to a defined property change at a lower temperature are also described; the applicability of the Arrhenius relation for making predictions to other temperatures, is assumed in this case.

    1.4 This practice does not predict thermal aging characteristics where interactions between stress, environment, temperature, and time control failure occur.

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

    Note 1: This standard and ISO-2578 address the same subject matter but differ in technical content.

    1.6 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

    D618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing

    D883 Terminology Relating to Plastics

    D5374 Test Methods for Forced-Convection Laboratory Ovens for Evaluation of Electrical Insulation

    D5423 Specification for Forced-Convection Laboratory Ovens for Evaluation of Electrical Insulation

    E145 Specification for Gravity-Convection and Forced-Ventilation Ovens

    E456 Terminology Relating to Quality and Statistics

    ISO Standards

    ISO 2578 (1993) Determination of Time-Temperature Limits After Exposure to Prolonged Action of Heat

    ISO 9080 (2012) Plastic Piping and Ducting SystemsDetermination of the Long-Term Hydrostatic Strength of Thermoplastic Materials in Pipe Form by Extrapolation


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 83.080.01 (Plastics in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 13100000(Rubber and elastomers)


    Referencing This Standard
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    DOI: 10.1520/D3045-18

    Citation Format

    ASTM D3045-18, Standard Practice for Heat Aging of Plastics Without Load, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

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