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Testing of Hard and Soft Cellular Plastic Foams

Soft and hard cellular plastic foams are used in many applications. ZwickRoell is a worldwide leader in cellular plastics testing, offering the right solutions for your testing needs.

Flexible cellular foams & standards Rigid cellular plastics & standards Test methods Testing solutions Plastics brochure

Tests on flexible cellular foams

The main purpose of flexible cellular foam is to provide comfort. Its prominent characteristics are damping and insulation. Engineered polyurethane foams are used in mattresses, for furniture and vehicle cushions, and in a wide variety of other applications requiring thermal and acoustic insulation. Additional applications for flexible cellular foams include filters, packaging, seals, and sponges, for which other polymers such as polyethylene are also used.

The test methods are defined in a number of ISO standards and in ASTM D3574. The cushions and backrests for vehicle seats are tested according to company standards, which are defined by the automobile industry's OEMs. There are special test methods not found in international standards for aging tests.

Methods for testing of hard and soft cellular plastics

Compressive stress value of cellular foams and plastics
ISO 3386, ASTM D3574-C and factory regulations
to Compressive stress value of cellular foams and plastics
Indentation hardness on cellular foams and plastics
ISO 2439, DIN 53577, DIN 53579-1, ASTM D3574, ASTM D3579
to Indentation hardness on cellular foams and plastics
Tensile properties/tear strength of cellular foams and plastics
ISO 1798, ASTM D3574-E, ISO 8067, ASTM D3574-F
to Tensile properties/tear strength of cellular foams and plastics
High cycle fatigue test of cellular foams and plastics
ISO 3385, ASTM D3574
to High cycle fatigue test of cellular foams and plastics

Tests on rigid cellular plastic foams

Rigid cellular plastics are used in construction and refrigeration for thermal insulation, in homes for impact sound insulation, and in aircraft and wind turbines as a core material for sandwich constructions and core composites or in shop fitting as a lightweight and rigid material with cover layers.

It is also used in packaging technology. This type of foam is an expanded foam, meaning a foamed polymer. Hard foams made of polyurethane (PU), polystyrene (EPS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (EPP), and phenolic resin (PF) are also widely used. The foams are produced as closed-cell or open-cell foam, or as integral foam with a solid exterior and a foamed cellular core.

For these materials, the test methods are also based on the area of application. The measurement of thermal properties and fire behavior play an important role. Compression and shear tests are the predominant mechanical test methods, while tensile properties can also be of interest.

Important test standards for determining mechanical material properties include:

  • ISO 844 - Determination of compression properties
  • ISO 1922 - Determination of shear strength
  • ISO 1926 - Determination of tensile properties
  • EN 1607 - Determination of tensile strength perpendicular to faces
  • ISO 1209-1 - General bending test
  • ISO 1209-2 - Determination of flexural strength and apparent flexural modulus of elasticity
  • ISO 7616 - Determination of compressive creep under specified load and temperature conditions

ZwickRoell testing solutions for cellular plastics

ZwickRoell is a global leader in testing of flexible cellular foams and rigid cellular plastics. Our c-frame materials testing machine cLine is ideal for tests on large foam pieces. Smaller standard test specimens are normally tested using universal materials testing machines. Our testXpert software for cellular foam material testing covers every requirement for determination of the compressive stress value, indentation hardness, compression properties, tensile strength, and tear growth behavior. Standard test programs are fully predefined according to the individual standards. This means you can be sure that your test sequences are correct and your results are evaluated with accuracy.

ZwickRoell offers a special electrodynamic testing machine for high cycle fatigue tests. This machine is designed for high test speeds and fast direction changes, making it ideal for the performance of high cycle fatigue tests on standard specimens. However, it can also be used for static tests to determine characteristics such as compressive stress value, indentation hardness and reduction in thickness and hardness.

In addition, ZwickRoell supplies devices for specimen preparation, bulk density measurement, rebound resilience, and Shore hardness.

If you are looking for the optimal solution for each of your requirements, please contact our industry experts.

Get in contact with our industry experts.

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