The use of a petaloid shape for the bottom design for carbonated PET bottles is widespread. Through this study, the causes of bottom cracking were investigated and a novel petaloid bottom was designed. The variations of the physical properties of PET according to the stretch ratio were examined and the stretch ratios in the blown bottle were analyzed. Cracking phenomena of the bottom were observed by a solvent-cracking test. The effective stress and the maximum principal stress in a carbonated bottle were analyzed by computer simulation. It was concluded that the bottom crack occurs because of not only the insufficient strength of material due to the insufficient stretch of PET but also to the coarse design of the petaloid shape. The highest maximum principal stress occurred at the valley in the petaloid bottom of the bottle and this strongly affected the cracking in the bottom. The petaloid shape was redesigned to minimize the maximum principal stress, and this resulted in increasing the crack resistance. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 88: 1145–1152, 2003