Films today are high-tech products that have a wide variety of characteristics. Mass production uses cost-effective plastics, such as high- and low-density PE, PP, PVC, and PS. In cases where special characteristics such as toughness, permeability, or light resistance are required, high-quality polymers such as various polyesters, PTFE, or ETFE are used. Films such as EPDM and EVA are used to waterproof roofs. Multilayer films have various characteristics such as strength, impermeability in regard to gas and bacteria, and suitability for contact with food.
Thin sheeting with a thickness of up to 1 mm is a constituent material for many hollow bodies in packaging technology, which are formed by means of processes such as thermoforming or compression molding.
Due to the broad scope of film manufacture and its downstream processing, requirements of the applicable test method vary greatly. The objectives of the tests can be very different in nature.
In an incoming goods inspection, the first step involves testing raw material. This step determines the melt index—meaning the melt mass-flow rate—of plastic granulate.
In the second step, the plastic films are tested after the extrusion or blow molding process. In addition to testing film thickness, a variety of other mechanical characteristics are important. These are strength, strain, yield point, and the tensile modulus in the longitudinal and transverse directions of the film. Toughness is also important, which is determined during impact tests. In the case of multilayer films, adhesion between the layers is crucial.
Yet the focus lies on other characteristics during and after processing, including adhesive strength, weldability, and strength of adhesives and joints. If sharp objects are packaged, the puncture resistance of the film is measured. Understanding the coefficient of friction is interesting for packing machines or in film printing. Changes in light and moisture is also important when evaluating thin sheeting and plastic films.
Zwick testing systems are specifically designed for these requirements and address a wide range of mechanical tests: