As a leading North American plastic film manufacturer, we understand the importance of maintaining consistency and quality in the films we supply for our valued customers. Even minor deviations in the technical properties of our films, such as barrier specifications or film thickness, can cause major issues down the supply chain. As part of our quality assurance process, we constantly put our films through a variety of lab tests to make sure we are meeting our customer’s unique specifications. In today’s Plastics 101, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the everyday plastic film testing we do.

Testing, Testing, 1 2 3

IEF's technical team measures a variety of film properties when performing quality tests. Depending on the application/end-use and unique specifications, some basic film attributes we analyze include: physical, optical, surface, barrier, and thermal properties.

Physical Property Tests

Physical property testing takes a look at attributes such as thickness and thickness variation, heat shrink-ability, tear and tensile strength, and stiffness. Some physical property tests performed at IEF include, but are not limited to:

  • Gauge
  • Dart Impact
  • Elmendorf Tear
  • Ultimate Tensile
  • Elongation
  • Stiffness Test
  • Shrink Test

Optical Property Tests

Optical property testing focuses on the appearance of the film, and observes attributes such as clarity or color. Some optical property tests performed at IEF include, but are not limited to:

  • Opacity Testing
  • Haze Testing

Surface Property Tests

Surface property tests mainly measure surface tension or friction levels associated with the film. Surface properties are crucial in determining a film’s performance on various types of machinery. Some examples of optical property tests performed at IEF include, but are not limited to:

  • Static Coefficient of Friction
  • Kinetic Coefficient of Friction
  • Treat Level
  • Gloss Test

Barrier Property Tests

Films that require barrier properties must be carefully examined to ensure proper barrier levels for the specific end-use application. Highly specialized applications, such as fresh protein food packaging, require high levels of gas and moisture barriers to prevent spoilage and to extend shelf life. Some examples of barrier property testing performed at IEF include, but are not limited to:

  • Oxygen Transmission Rate
  • H20 Transmission Rate

Thermal Property Tests

Thermal property tests are often used on films with specialty sealant applications. Several thermal property tests are performed at IEF, but a common example is the Hot Tack test, in which the strength of a hot seal is measured.

This post covered just scratches the surface of IEF’s technical capabilities. For more information on other testing capabilities, or to inquire how IEF can service your film needs, reach out to your local film expert.