ASTM D3163: Lap-Shear Testing of Bonded Rigid Plastics

Written by Meredith Bernstein

ASTM D3163 is a tensile test used to measure the adhesive lap-shear strength of bonded rigid plastics.This testing standard is very similar to ISO 4587 and EN 1465, with the difference being that ASTM D3163 is used specifically to test adhesives applied to rigid plastics. To perform this test, a shear stress is applied to the specimen at a rate of 8.3 to 9.7 MPa per minute and the breaking force and shear strength are reported.


 Materials Testing System

System capacity will depend on the strength of the adhesive, however most tests to this standard will fall in the capacity range between 1 kN and 5 kN, making this application perfect for a single column frame (34SC or 68SC). If the adhesive requires a higher capacity system, Instron’s dual column table model frames are available up to 50 kN.

ASTM D3163 test setup

ASTM D3163 Test Setup

1. Instron 68SC-1

2. Bluehill Universal Dashboard (2490-696)

3. 2580 Series Load Cell (2580-1kN)

4. 1 kN Screw Side-Action Grips (2710-113)




Both pneumatic side-action grips and advanced screw side-action grips are excellent fixture choices for this standard. Both types of grips are adjustable in order to offset the jaw faces and ensure that the lap joint remains centered in the grips, and both feature quick-change jaw faces that can be easily changed to accommodate different materials.

5 kN Model | 2712-045
1 kN Model | 2710-113

Bluehill Universal is provided with one free application module upon purchase. Each module contains pre-configured test methods and supporting documentation to assist with testing to various standards, including ASTM D3163 which is part of the Adhesives module.

Tips and Tricks
  • It is critical when testing lap joints that the centerline of the grips be directly aligned with the plane of the adhesive bond. This ensures a true shear force application to the adhesive. Offset jaw faces are necessary to achieve this test setup.
  • The standard requires reporting the breaking force or strength, however it’s important to remember that the shear strength is calculated by dividing the breaking force by the adhesive bond area.
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