Biaxial characterisation of materials for thermoforming and blow moulding

P. J. Martin, C. W. Tan, K. Y. Tshai, R. McCool, G. Menary, C. G. Armstrong, E. M.A. Harkin-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


During free surface moulding processes such as thermoforming and blow moulding, heated polymer materials are subjected to rapid biaxial deformation as they are drawn into the shape of a mould. In the development of process simulations, it is therefore essential to be able to accurately measure and model this behaviour. Conventional uniaxial test methods are generally inadequate for this purpose and this has led to the development of specialised biaxial test rigs. In the present study, the results of several programmes of biaxial tests conducted at Queen's University are presented and discussed. These have included tests on high impact polystyrene (HIPS), polypropylene (PP) and aPET, and the work has involved a wide variety of experimental conditions. In all cases, the results clearly demonstrate the unique characteristics of materials when subjected to biaxial deformation. PP draws the highest stresses and it is the most temperature-sensitive of the materials. aPET is initially easier to form but exhibits strain hardening at higher strains. This behaviour is increased with increasing strain rate but at very high strain rates, these effects are increasingly mollified by adiabatic heating. Both aPET and PP (to a lesser degree) draw much higher stresses in sequential stretching showing that this behaviour must be considered in process simulations. HIPS showed none of these effects and it is the easiest material to deform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalPlastics, Rubber and Composites
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Nov 2005


  • aPET
  • Biaxial testing
  • Blow moulding
  • HIPS
  • PP
  • Thermoforming


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