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Strain-hardening test method speeds HDPE pipe testing

By Scott Jenkins |

A test method developed by SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; www.sabic.com) scientists drastically reduces the time needed to evaluate slow-crack growth resistance in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that is used in pressure pipes. The strain-hardening test method allows HDPE producers to speed product development and improve quality control by offering an alternative to traditional approaches for collecting data on the long-term slow-crack growth performance of pressure pipes. Traditional methods, such as the full-notch creep test (FNCT) involve subjecting material samples to constant stress, and crack-inducing liquid and measuring the time to failure, a process that can go on for months. The strain-hardening test consists of a tensile test carried out at 80°C in a few hours. When a polymer sample is highly stretched, it exhibits strain-hardening, a phenomenon that SABIC scientists have correlated with slow-crack growth in HDPE, so that the slope of the stress/strain curve at very high elongation rate — the so-called strain-hardening modulus — can be used to predict its resistance to slow-crack growth. “The beauty of the method is that it can be carried out with non-specialized equipment…
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