By Ben Howe, UL Prospector
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If you’ve ever run across an ASTM callout you know how confusing they appear at first glance. What does “ASTM D4101 PP0110R40A23150AA002GA125SA014” mean anyway? What about ASTM D4066 callouts? Being able to recognize the distinct parts of a callout and interpreting their meaning takes a bit of practice. What follows is a guide to keep the hair-pulling to a minimum.
ASTM D4000, Standard Classification System for Specifying Plastic Materials, defines a broad classification system for plastics intended to identify materials used for part fabrication. In addition to ASTM D4000 there are a number of other ASTM documents used to classify plastic materials. ASTM D4000 contains a large list of generic polymer families and the corresponding specifications used to classify each family. One example is ASTM D4066, the Standard Classification System for Nylon Injection and Extrusion Materials. The process of decoding a callout from any of these specifications is the same. All you’ll need is a copy of ASTM D4000 and a copy of the specification you need to decode.
ASTM callouts can be separated into 5 parts: Generic Type, Requirements Code, Reinforcement, Cell Requirements, and Suffix Requirements. For an example let’s use ASTM D4066 PA0610G33A49360UA067. The example callout is broken down into its basic parts in the figure below.
Part 1. Generic Type
The first two or more letters following the ASTM specification constitute the generic family of the resin as defined by Table 1 of ASTM D4000. In the case of ASTM D4066PA0610G33A49360UA067 the generic family code is PA, which translates into polyamide (nylon).
Part 2. Requirements Code: Group, Class, and Grade
Following the generic classification is the requirements code. The first two numbers of the code are the group numbers, followed by the class number and grade number or characters. Note that it is possible to have a grade designation that contains filler information, for example, 011G15 is group 01, class 1, and group G15. The interpretation of the group is the same as in Part 3. For our example, the material is classified as being in group 06, class 1, and grade 0. These digits can be decoded from the requirements table (Table PA) from ASTM D4066. Group 06=612 Nylon, Class 1=General Purpose, Grade 0=Other. Occasionally you’ll see a 3 digit requirement code because the leading zero of the group number was dropped, so in our case you may see ASTM D4066 PA610G33…
Part 3. Reinforcement
Reinforcement information comes next. The first two characters specify the reinforcement material and reinforcement form. ASTM D4000 lists the characters for the filler material and filler form in tables 2 and 2A respectively. The second character specifying reinforcement form is not required, and is sometimes omitted, as is the case for our example. The two digits following the filler characters represent the percentage of reinforcement. In our example, G33 represents 33% glass reinforced.
Part 4. Cell Requirements
The next part of the callout is the 6 character cell requirements code. The first character specifies which cell table is to be used. The cell table contains physical property requirements of the material. The five numbers that follow the cell table reference are used to specify the values of the property requirements. The first digit refers to the column number from the first row of the cell table. The second digit refers to the column number from the second row of the cell table, and so on. Match the digit with the column header of the cell table and look at the appropriate row to read the value. In our case, the cell classification is A49360. See the detail requirements table below to see how to read the code.
The numbers 49360 translate to:
4=Tensile Strength: 140 MPa
9=Flexural Modulus: specify value
3=Notched Izod Impact: 7.5 kJ/m²
6=HDT at 1.82MPa: 185°C
0=To be determined: unspecified
Part 5. Suffix Requirements
Suffix values override previous callout requirements and may or may not appear in a callout. Suffixes are made up of a group of two letters followed by three numbers. The first letter specifies a category of properties, like “Electrical”. The second letter denotes a specific property and/or test method within the property category. The three digit code that follows is interpreted differently depending on which two letters begin the suffix. The three digit code may represent a raw value, an additional cell classification, or may list additional conditions relating to the test in addition to the value. Consult ASTM D4000 for the interpretation of suffix codes. In our example UA067, the U represents “flexural modulus, stiffness”, the A represents “ASTM D 790, specimen = 3.2 by 13 by 76 mm, speed = 1.3 mm/min” and 067 represents 1/100 of the required value in MPa. Note that the cell requirement for flexural modulus from Part 4 had a value of “specify value”. In our example the suffix UA067 is used to list the flexural modulus requirement of 6700 MPa (067*100 MPa).
Pull It Together
If you’ve been keeping track, there’s a lot of information packed into an ASTM callout. They can get even larger with additional suffix requirements.
About the Author
Ben How, UL Prospector
Ben Howe is the Lead Content Development Analyst for UL Prospector and is responsible for the management of more than 100,000 unique grades of material datasheets from more than 900 resin suppliers. Ben holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming (2001). Ben has a knack for tracking down hard to find materials information and authored the Property Descriptions and Test Method Standards library.
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