The cell size of Rigid Plastics ASTM D3576-20

The cell size of Rigid Plastics ASTM D3576-20

ASTM D3576-20 method covers the determination of the apparent cell size of rigid cellular plastics by counting the number of cell-wall intersections in a specified distance. The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.


    ASTM 3576 yields an apparent cell size because it assumes no demonstrable change in average cell size from edge to edge or top to bottom and that the cell size is constant. Distribution is typical around the average cell size. There could be significant differences in either the cell size distribution or average cell size. Before beginning this test technique, the strategy should be made according to the material’s specifications, preparations, conditioning, or dimensioning of test specimens. The materials specifications must be taken into consideration.


    Procedure A: In ASTM D3576-20, a specimen is cut 50 by 50 mm by thickness (2 by 2 in.) from the sample. The specimen is prepared by cutting a thin slice. The thin-sliced foam specimen is inserted into the cell size slide assembly. Zero on the grid line is positioned at the top of the area to be measured. The slide assembly is inserted into the projector. The projector on the wall or screen is focused so that a sharp image shadow-graph results.

    Procedure B: A 25-mm section is cut across the width of the sample. The length, width, and direction of the specimen are identified. For samples with an apparent cell size of 0.3 mm or smaller, the cell size is measured using a scope with a 10-mm calibrated reference line. For samples with an apparent cell size of 1.0 mm, a handheld eyepiece with a calibrated scale of 30-mm length is used. The number of cell walls is counted, which intersects the reference line. The average cell chord length is determined and divided by the length of the reference line.

    Specimen size:

    Cutting blade apparatus capable of slicing thin specimens (0.02 mm) for cell size viewing.


    d = t(1.623) 

    where: d is cell size, mm, and t is average cell chord length, mm


    The average cell size in millimeters for each direction is measured. For those foams having a cell size larger than 1.0 mm, the reported value is nearest to 0.1 mm. For those smaller than 1.0 mm, the reported value is nearest to 0.01 m.


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