Project Details Definition of Terms Relating to the Ultimate Mechanical Properties of Polymers

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 July 2016
End Date:
Division Name:


In 1998 IUPAC Division IV published a document on ‘Non-Ultimate Mechanical Properties’ (Pure Appl Chem., Vol. 70, No. 3, pp. 701-754;, in which the basic terms of mechanical properties important in polymer science were laid. Of greater importance in application, however, is the behaviour close to, or at, mechanical failure of a polymeric material. The purpose of this project is to extend the existing successful recommendations into this scientifically and technologically important field of application (i.e. the ultimate mechanical properties of polymers). The outcome of the project will be extremely beneficial also for the education of engineers in the related fields.


On the basis of the document “Definition of Terms Relating to the Non-Ultimate Properties of Polymers” published by IUPAC in 1998 [A. Kaye, R. F. T. Stepto, W. J. Work, J. V. Alemán, A. Ya. Malkin, Pure Appl. Chem. 70 (3), 701-754 (1998);], this document supplements the definitions of terms relating to the non-ultimate mechanical properties of solid polymers and solid polymer systems by providing definitions of terms related to the ultimate mechanical behaviour of the polymeric materials, i.e., the mechanical properties just at the point where failure of those materials occurs. The document focuses in particular on the behaviour of bulk polymers, blends and composites with reference to their elastic, viscoelastic and micromechanical properties. In the final document, the terms dealing with basic definitions related to ultimate mechanical deformation phenomena (and the relevant quantities) derived experimentally will be arranged alphabetically. Various literature sources dealing with conventional mechanical characterization of polymeric materials will be the basic source of information for the final document.

As for the project on “Definition of Terms Relating to the Non-Ultimate Properties of Polymers”, published by IUPAC in 1998, the definitions will be adapted from various sources such as International Standards Organization (ISO) manuscripts on Plastics Vocabulary, ASTM publications and DIN- norms, and various encyclopaedia of materials science and engineering.


June 2020 update – The project has an objective of identifying and listing systematically the terms related to ultimate mechanical properties of polymeric materials. The task group (TG) met at Paris in July 2019 during World Chemistry Congress and looked at the terms and definitions so far collected and agreed basic strategy for the document. The TG is working on the preliminary draft which will be further discussed during a virtual session planned in July this year. The final draft is expected to be ready in 2020.

Page last updated 28 July 2020