New Standards Support Plastic Composites Use

A pair of new ASTM International standards support the growing use of certain kinds of plastic composites in civil engineering. Specifically, the standards outline procedures for testing pultruded fiber-reinforced polymer materials by temperature and moisture to help better understand and compare their properties. [The soon-to-be-published standards are Test Method for Measuring the Effect of Freeze-Thaw Cycling on a Thermoset Pultruded Composite (D7792) and Test Method for the Evaluation of the Effects of Elevated Temperature and Moisture Conditioning of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites (D7992).]

Structural designers increasingly incorporate shapes, connections and prefabricated products made from pultruded FRP composites into the design and construction of new buildings and other projects. These materials have high corrosion resistance and excellent strength-to-weight ratios. In addition, they can be tailored and reproduced relatively easily, helping to meet specific needs at lower costs.

"In order to make reliable comparisons between different materials under elevated temperature and moisture environmental conditions or freeze/thaw conditions, it is necessary to standardize conditions to which pultruded FRP specimens are subjected to prior to and before testing," says ASTM member Ellen Lackey, Ph.D. "Data obtained from use of the new standards will allow structural designers to select materials appropriate for a particular application," notes Lackey, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Mississippi.

Subcommittee D20.18 on Reinforced Thermosetting Plastics developed both new standards. D20.18 is currently working on other standards for pultruded composites and other reinforced thermoset composites. All interested parties are encouraged to participate.

To purchase standards, visit and search by the standard designation, or contact ASTM Sales (tel +1.877.909.ASTM;

CONTACT Technical Information: Ellen Lackey, University of Mississippi • University, Miss. • tel +1.662.915.5379 | ASTM Staff: Alyson Fick • tel +1.610.832.9710 | Upcoming Meeting: Nov. 15-18 • November Committee Week • Tampa, Fla.

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