Plastic Testing, Plastic Testing Laboratory, Plastics testing
APM Testing provides A2LA accredited (ISO 17025) laboratory services for chemical analysis of plastic, mechanical testing of plastic, thermal analysis of plastic, electrical testing of plastic, failure analysis of plastic, and plastic material certifications. In addition to plastic testing, our laboratory also does metal testing, rubber testing, oil testing, paint testing, plating testing, adhesive testing, circuit board testing, and other testing.
Chemical Analysis of Plastic
Basic identification of plastic can be accomplished by using three analytical tests. FTIR Analysis (ASTM E1252) can be used to identify the major polymer type. EDS Analysis can be used to provide an elemental identification of the inorganic fillers present. TGA Analysis (ASTM E1131) can be used to quantify the inorganic fillers. A typical summary statement for a basic material identification report might read "The FTIR, EDS, and TGA analysis of the sample was consistent with that of a polycarbonate with 10% glass filler." This combination of tests provides basic information but additional testing is needed if identification of a trace additive or the grade of plastic is required.
Mechanical Testing of Plastic
There are a wide variety of tests used for mechanical testing of plastics but some of the most common are Tensile Properties (ASTM D638), Flexural Properties (ASTM D790), and Izod Impact Strength (ASTM D256). Mechanical testing is most often performed on molded test bars but we also have a complete Machine Shop so we can fabricate test bars out of parts.
Thermal Analysis of Plastic
Characterizing the thermal properties of plastic is important to make sure that it will process correctly and that it will stand up to the service temperature of your application. Deflection temperature (ASTM D648), melting point by DSC (ASTM D3418), thermal expansion by TMA (ASTM E831), filler content by TGA (ASTM E1131), and melt flow rate (ASTM D1238) tests all provide data for thermal characterization of plastic.
Electrical Testing of Plastic
Plastic used in electrical applications often requires testing such as Dielectric Strength (ASTM D149), Volume Resistivity (ASTM D257), or Surface Resistivity (ASTM D257). These tests are typically performed on flat plaques but a variety of shapes and sizes can be accommodated.
Failure Analysis of Plastic
Our decades of experience and wide range of testing instruments provide a unique advantage in finding the probable root cause for a failure. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of a fracture surface can often identify the fracture initiation point, mode of propagation, and speed of propagation. Chemical analysis by FTIR (ASTM E1252), filler quantity by TGA (ASTM E1131), and multiple other tests allow us to verify that the material is within specification. Melt flow rate (ASTM D1238) or viscosity number (ISO 307) tests are frequently used to look for evidence of degradation during processing. GC-MS analysis can identify residual traces of aggressive solvents which may have attacked the plastic. A detailed report with full documentation of results along with pictures illustrating defective areas is included with every failure analysis project.
Plastic Material Certifications
Material specifications list specific performance requirements for different grades of plastic. Material specifications differ from test methods because test methods only specify how to test for a property but do not include acceptable ranges for the test results. ASTM, SAE, and the military all publish plastic certification standards.
« Back to Materials Tested