Standard Active Last Updated: May 09, 2018
ASTM D2838-18

Standard Test Method for Shrink Tension and Orientation Release Stress of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting

Significance and Use

5.1 As a result of the manufacturing process, internal stresses are locked into the film and these can be released by heating.

Note 3: For any given type of film or sheeting, the temperatures at which shrinkage will begin are related to processing techniques employed to manufacture the film and also may be related to a phase transition in the base resin.

5.2 Shrink tension affects the appearance and performance of a film in a shrink-packaging application. It is also used to determine the degree and direction of orientation. The orientation exerts a great influence upon important physical characteristics such as tensile strength, stiffness, tear resistance, and impact strength.

5.3 Data from Procedure A are most useful for determining the degree and direction of orientation, orientation release stress, and the maximum force that the film can exert at a given temperature.

5.4 Since, in actual applications, film is seldom, if ever, totally restrained, data from Procedure B are useful in estimating the force an item to be packaged will actually receive and in predicting the appearance of packaged items.

5.5 The characterization of shrink tension as a function of temperature, and the resultant determination of orientation release stress and its corresponding temperature, is usually carried out only for a particular material of specified thickness for a defined fabrication process. For product development purposes, quality control and determination of conformity be made to the specification of the material being tested. Any test specimen preparation, conditioning, dimensions, or testing parameters, or combination thereof, covered in the relevant ASTM material specification shall take precedence over those mentioned in this test method. If there are no relevant ASTM material specifications, then the default conditions apply. Table 1 of Classification Systems D4000 lists the ASTM material specifications that currently exist.


1.1 This test method covers the determination of the shrink tension and related characteristics, that is, shrink force and orientation release stress, of heat-shrinkable plastic film and sheeting of less than 1.0 mm (0.04 in.) thickness. Two procedures are described that permit the measurement of shrink forces at predetermined temperatures. They are as follows:

1.1.1 Procedure A is designed to measure the maximum force exerted by a specimen that is totally restrained from shrinking as it is heated rapidly to a specific temperature.

1.1.2 Procedure B is designed to measure the maximum force exerted by a specimen that is permitted to shrink a predetermined amount prior to restraint while being heated rapidly to a specific temperature.

1.2 Orientation release stress can be determined from the data obtained using Procedure A.

1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values in parentheses are for information only.

1.4 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: Film has been arbitrarily defined as sheeting having nominal thickness not greater than 0.25 µm (0.010 in.).

Note 2: There is no known ISO equivalent to this test method.

1.5 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.

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Book of Standards Volume: 08.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D20.19
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/D2838-18
ICS Code: 83.140.10