Designation: D 1004 – 08

Standard Test Method for
Tear Resistance (Graves Tear) of Plastic Film and Sheeting1
This standard is issued under the fixed designation D 1004; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of
original adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of last revision. A number in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval. A
superscript epsilon (´) indicates an editorial change since the last revision or reapproval.
This standard has been approved for use by agencies of the Department of Defense.

1. Scope* D 882 Test Method for Tensile Properties of Thin Plastic
1.1 This test method2 covers the determination of the tear Sheeting
resistance of flexible plastic film and sheeting at very low rates D 883 Terminology Relating to Plastics
of loading, 51 mm (2 in.)/min. and is designed to measure the D 4000 Classification System for Specifying Plastic Mate-
force to initiate tearing. The specimen geometry of this test rials
method produces a stress concentration in a small area of the D 5947 Test Methods for Physical Dimensions of Solid
specimen. The maximum stress, usually found near the onset of Plastics Specimens
tearing, is recorded as the tear resistance in newtons (or E 4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines
pounds-force). The method is not applicable for film or E 691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to
sheeting material where brittle failures occur during testing or Determine the Precision of a Test Method
where maximum extension is greater than 101.6 mm (4 in.). 2.2 ASTM Adjuncts:
Die Drawings4
NOTE 1—Film has been arbitrarily defined as sheeting having nominal
thickness not greater than 0.25 mm (0.010 in.). 3. Terminology
1.2 Constant-Rate-of-Grip Separation Test—This test 3.1 Definitions:
method employs a constant rate of separation of the grips Definitions of terms applying to this test method appear in
holding the test specimen. Terminology D 883.
1.2.1 Specimen extension may be measured in this test
method by grip separation. 4. Summary of Test Method
1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the 4.1 The force to initiate tearing across a specific geometry
standard. The values given in parentheses are provided for of a film or sheeting specimen is measured using a constant-
information only. rate-of-grip separation machine. The force necessary to initiate
1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the the tear is calculated from the load-time or load-displacement
safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the data.
responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appro-
priate safety and health practices and determine the applica- 5. Significance and Use
bility of regulatory limitations prior to use. 5.1 Tear resistance of plastic film or sheeting is a complex
NOTE 2—There is no similar or equivalent ISO standard.
function of its ultimate resistance to rupture. The specimen
geometry and speed of testing in this test method are controlled
2. Referenced Documents to produce tearing in a small area of stress concentration at
2.1 ASTM Standards:3 rates far below those usually encountered in service. Experi-
D 618 Practice for Conditioning Plastics for Testing ence has shown the test to have its best reliability for materials
which do not have brittle failure or do not elongate greater than
two hundred percent during testing.
This test method is under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics 5.2 The data from this test method furnish comparative
and is the direct responsibility of Subcommittee D20.19 on Film and Sheeting.
Current edition approved Nov. 1, 2008. Published November 2008. Originally
information for ranking the tearing resistance of plastic speci-
approved in 1949. Last previous edition approved in 2007 as D 1004 – 07. mens of similar composition. Actual use performance in
The following reference may be of interest in connection with this test method: tearing of some plastics may not necessarily correlate with data
Graves, F. L., “The Evaluation of Tear Resistance in Elastomers,” India Rubber from this test method.
World, Vol 111, No. 3, December 1944, pp. 305–308.
For referenced ASTM standards, visit the ASTM website,, or
contact ASTM Customer Service at For Annual Book of ASTM
Standards volume information, refer to the standard’s Document Summary page on Available from ASTM International Headquarters. Order Adjunct No.
the ASTM website. ADJD1004.

*A Summary of Changes section appears at the end of this standard.
Copyright © ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, PO Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, United States.

Copyright by ASTM Int'l (all rights reserved); Mon Dec 22 18:02:48 EST 2008
Downloaded/printed by
Robert Wallace () pursuant to License Agreement. No further reproductions authorized.

1 6. Lightweight cardboard or a occur in the grips.3.500 12. the cutting edges of the die with water may facilitate cutting. 6.) 6 the die shall be kept sharp and free of all nicks to avoid leaving 5 %/min.118 28. there is a limit to the amount of misalignment piece of leather belting is suitable. ragged edges on the specimens. The the following: accuracy of the testing machine shall be verified in accordance 6.2 Movable Member—A movable member carrying a indicating mechanism capable of showing the amount of second grip.000 25.025 mm (0. The cutting edges of member (grip) at a controlled velocity of 51 mm (2 in. Fixed grips may be which exhibit visual deformation during measurement. frequently fail at the edge of the grips. 0. Wetting the surface of the sample and the grip assembly. NOTE 3—The specimens should be aligned as perfectly as possible with The sample shall rest on the smooth.1. Therefore. the specimen being measured shall not distort or deform the 6. NOTE 4—Grips lined with thin rubber have been used successfully. Care should be taken that self-aligning grips will accommodate. For thicker inserted and clamped so that the long axis of the test specimen or stiffer films. Table of Metric Equivalents 5. 6. Mon Dec 22 18:02:48 EST 2008 Downloaded/printed by Robert Wallace () pursuant to License Agreement. Test Specimens contact with the specimen.0 50.002 0.1. 2 Copyright by ASTM Int'l (all rights reserved). the tearing resistance is expressed in maximum newtons (or Tolerance 6 0. or films movable members of the testing machine. a set of self-aligning grips for 6. reading to 0. but with some 4.95 to the specification. has no simple correlation with specimen thickness.70 FIG. No further reproductions authorized. For thin films. the radius of curvature of the edges of the grips may be increased slightly at the point where they come in 7.6 Crosshead Extension Indicator—A suitable extension- 6.1. mm that requires the use of this test method.1 Fixed Member—A fixed or essentially stationary with Practices E 4.).1. or an equivalent measuring device.025 movable member of the testing machine.5 % from these dimensions.3 Grips—Preferably.750 1.1 The test specimens shall be cut out with a die conform- 6.3 The resistance to tear of plastic film and sheeting. The they will move freely into alignment as soon as any load is cutting edge of the die shall have a 5° negative rake. the grip assembly.0001 in.1.5° pounds-force) of force to tear the specimen. The grips should mm (0.4 The tear resistance of plastic film may be a specification in. The pressure exerted by the gage on minimize both slippage and uneven stress distribution. In cases where specimens surfaces and that the edges have a minimum of concavity. a maxi- used if extreme care is taken to ensure that the test specimen is mum pressure of 70 kPa (10 psi) is recommended. D 1004 – 08 5. tearing forces measured in newtons (or pounds-force) cannot be normalized over a wide range of specimen thickness without producing misleading data as to the actual tearing resistance of the material. change in the separation of the grips (crosshead movement).1 Fixed grips are rigidly attached to the fixed and specimen.40 material specification before using this test method. Hence.40 Classification System D 4000 lists the ASTM materials stan. the pressure shall be between 160 and 185 kPa coincides with the direction of pull through the center line of (23 and 27 psi). the cut edges of the specimen are perpendicular to its other Grips may be of the self-tightening type. Therefore. The testing machine shall be film. member carrying one grip.4 Drive Mechanism—A drive mechanism capable of ing to the dimensions shown in Fig. Table 1 of 1. 2. # 0. slightly yielding surface the direction of pull so that no rotary motion that may induce slippage will that will not damage the die blade. while partly dependent upon thickness.) or less. NOTE 5—Caution should be used to ensure all samples are the same nism capable of showing the total tensile load carried by the dimension if multiple specimens are cut at one time by stacking (layering) test specimen held by the grips. The 90° angle shall be honed movable member of the testing machine in such a manner that sharp with no radius or have a minimum practical radius. Data from this test method are comparable only from specimens.60 procedural modifications that take precedence when adhering 0.3.2 Self-aligning grips are attached to the fixed and shall be used to cut all specimens.0 101.3 Die4—A die having the dimensions shown in Fig. 1 and shall not vary by separating the movable member (grip) from the stationary more than 0.1 Testing Machine—A testing machine of the constant essentially free from inertial lag at the specified rate of testing rate-of crosshead-movement type and comprising essentially and shall indicate the load with an accuracy of 61 %. which vary by no more than 610 % from the nominal or average thickness of all specimens tested.061 26.1. and shall applied so that the long axis of the test specimen will coincide be kept sharp and free from nicks to avoid leaving ragged with the direction of the applied pull through the center line of edges on the specimen.5 Load Indicator—A suitable load-indicating mecha. Apparatus 6.2 Thickness—A micrometer as prescribed in Test Methods holding the test specimen between the fixed member and the D 5947. 6. 7.051 dards that currently exist. 6. 1 Die for Tear Test Specimen 6. .001 in. it is advisable to refer to that 1.80 0.

6 Data from specimens which deviate markedly from the B S R = between-laboratories standard deviation for the material stated. Sr 5 [@ (~S1!2 1 ~S 2!2 . Record maximum tear resis- portions of the sheet must be tested if reliable tear resistance data are tance expressed in newtons (pounds-force) to three significant desired.9 36. It is a mean value of all tests shall be rejected if the deviation of the pooling of the amounts by which the average of the test results for each laboratory doubtful value is more than five times the standard deviation deviate from the overall average for that material. 11.2. and orientation of sample with respect to anisotropy. The rate of travel of the power activated grip shall be 11.2 direction and in the transverse direction for each anisotropic Polypropylene 503. Each “test result” was the average of ten determinations. 10.5-in. as many as 50 specimens cut from random principal direction of orientation. form. relative humidity.6 31.. In cases of disagreement. LLDPE 384.2 1142. from the mean value obtained by excluding the doubtful D R = between-laboratories reproducibility limit = 2. and the maximum laboratories which prepared the test specimens and tested extension in mm (in. with the center line of the grip assembly.0 1678. relevant ASTM material specification. Precision and Bias 5 devices specified in 6.0 A or which break in or at the edges of the grips shall be discarded S r = within-laboratory standard deviation for the material stated.1. and the maximum extension for all specimens tested in each 5 Supporting data are available from ASTM Headquarters. Each laboratory obtained two test results for each material.1.1. 2°C (73. 8. However. them. 2 474. Record the average thickness in microns (mil)..8 3 SR.8 3 Sr. unless such failures constitute 1 a variable whose effect is being studied. Request RR:20-1177. In cases of disagree- ment. includ- fication.1 Complete identification of the material tested.06 261. Procedure 11. 9.4 Test a minimum of ten specimens each in the machine Polystyrene 459. 1 ~Sn!2 #/n] 2 7. Calculation 10.79 89.3 At least ten specimens shall be tested for each sample. all the samples were prepared at one source. it should less than 40 h prior to test in accordance with Procedure A of be realized that comparison between films of dissimilar thickness may not Practice D 618 unless otherwise specified by agreement or the be valid. 51-mm (2-in.4 Number of specimens tested in each principal direc- tion. previous history. 12.45 83. results.2 the case of isotropic materials.9 29.0 19. D 1004 – 08 7. figures and maximum extension expressed in mm (in.80 41. .6°F) and 50 6 10 % relative humidity unless otherwise 11.1 Report the following information: specified by agreement or the relevant ASTM material speci.6 Standard deviation from the averaged values ob- tained for specimens tested in each principal direction.2 Calculate standard deviation.) shall be thickness of all test specimens. No further reproductions authorized.98 55.2 Test Conditions—Conduct the tests at 23 6 2°C (73.).0 7.5 Average value of tear resistance calculated in new- maximum load recorded.9 599.1.6 274. 9.6 732.1.51 155. source.1 Conditioning—Condition the test specimens at 23 6 NOTE 8—Resistance to tear may be expressed in newtons per microns.) to two 8. this maximum load is tons (pounds-force) and the maximum extension in mm (in. Average SrA SRB rC RD 7.6°F) and 50 6 10 % relative humidity for not (pounds-force per mil) of specimen thickness where correlation for the particular material being tested has been established.1 Calculate the mean maximum resistance to tearing.) shall be recorded.87 77.1 An initial jaw separation of 25.2 Measure the thickness of the specimen at several points in the notched area to the accuracy limits of the measuring 12. 3 Copyright by ASTM Int'l (all rights reserved).)/min.20 101.35 78. resistance to tear is calculated from the 11. the tolerances shall be 61°C ing type. C r = within-laboratory repeatability limit = 2.4 6 3.2 Machine direction specimens are cut perpendicular to TABLE 1 Initial Tear Resistance (Graves Tear) Machine Direction the machine direction and transverse direction specimens are Values Expressed in Units of Grams-Force Material cut perpendicular to the transverse direction.84 116.4 6 11.3 HDPE No.8 7. principal (61. For each material. 11. Report 3. manufacturer’s code number.8 219.8°F) and 65 % 10. the maximum and randomized sections of film were sent to each of the tearing load in newtons (pounds-force).9 test sample. 9.9 7. in LDPE—LD 104 314.53 156. Conditioning significant figures. dimensions.2 Average thickness of each test specimen and average 9.8°F) and 65 % relative humidity.4 mm (1 in.8 98.3 Type of testing machine used. the tolerances shall be 61°C (61.0 6407.3 Place the specimen in the grips of the testing machine so conducted between 1986 and 1990 in accordance with Practice that the long axis of the enlarged ends of the specimen is in line E 691.1 Table 1 and Table 2 are based on a round robin 9.42 55. NOTE 7—In this test method. In testing most plastics.1. 11. Mon Dec 22 18:02:48 EST 2008 Downloaded/printed by Robert Wallace () pursuant to License Agreement. if any. 1 570. 8.64 216. It is obtained by pooling the standard deviations of the test results from each laboratory: and additional specimens tested.5 Data from specimens which break at some obvious flaw Polyester 2494.) testing width of the specimen. involving seven materials tested by seven laboratories. used. NOTE 6—For certain materials whose properties vary considerably throughout the film or sheeting.4 After complete rupture of the specimen. HDPE No.82 55.73 21. generated at the onset of tearing across the 13-mm (0.

2-12. The Material Average SrA SRB rC RD principles of 12. meaningful way of considering the approximate precision of 12. 2008) (1) Revised Section 8. 2007) (1) Revised 7.0 317.4.2 443.3 Any judgment in accordance with 12.45 79. Your comments are invited either for revision of this standard or for additional standards and should be addressed to ASTM International Headquarters. It is a sults for the same material.2.73 95.52 28. tear.0 33. West Conshohocken. as those data are specific to the round robin and may not be 13.1 or 12.6 20. tear initiation..06 88.) The two deviate from the overall average for that material.2 Reproducibility Limit. 610-832-9555 (fax).95) probability of being nations of r and R (12. No further reproductions authorized. conditions.76 229. (April 1. and the risk of infringement of such rights. are entirely their own responsibility.7 263.astm.1 31.9 46.2.1 Graves.70 82. plastic film. United States. obtained by the same operator using the Polyester 2341.53 57. Individual reprints (single or multiple copies) of this standard may be obtained by contacting ASTM at the above address or at 610-832-9585 (phone). materials.8 3 97. rigorously applied to acceptance or rejection of material. Sr 5 [@ (~S1!2 1 ~S 2!2 . Committee D20 has identified the location of selected changes to this standard since the last issue (D 1004 .24 34. more than the “R” value for that material. If you feel that your comments have not received a fair hearing you should make your views known to the ASTM Committee on Standards.2-12. Users of this test method should apply the principles Direction outlined in Practice E 691 to generate data specific to their Values Expressed in Units of Grams–Force laboratory and materials.8 Polypropylene 468.8 specimens: Polystyrene 481. 13.7 for the same material.2 12. C r = within-laboratory repeatability limit = 2.89 data and for test results that were the result of testing ten HDPE No.75 128.2.2. This standard is subject to revision at any time by the responsible technical committee and must be reviewed every five years and if not revised. Mon Dec 22 18:02:48 EST 2008 Downloaded/printed by Robert Wallace () pursuant to License Agreement. Keywords representative of other lots.2 Concept of r and R—Warning—The following expla. obtained by different operators pooling of the amounts by which the average of the test results for each laboratory using different equipment in different laboratories. Users of this standard are expressly advised that determination of the validity of any such patent rights. PA 19428-2959.63 42. or between specific laboratories. It is obtained by pooling the standard deviations of the test results from each laboratory: be judged not equivalent if they differ by more than the “r” 1 value for that material.2. or service@astm. r—(Comparing two test results HDPE No. either reapproved or withdrawn. D 1004 – 08 TABLE 2 Initial Tear Resistance (Graves Tear) Transverse ries. thin sheeting SUMMARY OF CHANGES Committee D20 has identified the location of selected changes to this standard since the last issue (D 1004 .) The two test results should A S r = within-laboratory standard deviation for the material stated.7 (e-mail). or laborato.3 would then be valid for such data. 4 Copyright by ASTM Int'l (all rights reserved). PO Box C700. (November 1. 1 523. . at the address shown below.2 12.0 same equipment on the same day.3) are only intended to present a correct.67 96.2 888. 2 411. or through the ASTM website (www.2. The data in Table 1 and Table 2 should not be this test method.7 738.94 86.4 101. which you may attend..9 273. If LDPE—LD 104 325. test results should be judged not equivalent if they differ by D R = between-laboratories reproducibility limit = 2. Your comments will receive careful consideration at a meeting of the responsible technical committee.1 Repeatability Limit. 100 Barr Harbor Drive. This standard is copyrighted by ASTM International. R—(Comparing two test re- B S R = between-laboratories standard deviation for the material stated.2.8 3 SR. 12.96 Sr and SR have been calculated from a large enough body of LLDPE 366.3 There are no recognized standards to estimate bias of this test method.1 1241. 1 ~Sn!2 #/n] 2 12.03) that may impact the use of this standard. would have an approximate 95 % (0.07) that may impact the use of this standard.02 242.1 15. ASTM International takes no position respecting the validity of any patent rights asserted in connection with any item mentioned in this standard.