Modeling of the fracture mechanism of HDPE subjected to environmental stress crack resistance test

Byoung Ho Choi, Jeffrey Weinhold, David Reuschle, Mridula Kapur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental stress crack resistance (ESCR) is a commonly used test to characterize cracking failure of high-density polyethylene in applications such as wires, cables, blow molded containers, and other rigid packaging applications. From a resin design standpoint, it is important to understand the mechanism of environmental stress cracking especially in the case of materials with significantly different ESCR values. Currently, two standard ESCR tests, ASTM D1693 and ASTM F2136, are commonly accepted to measure environmental stress crack resistance of HDPE. An accurate observation of ESC is important to understand the fracture mechanism of samples. In this study, the ESCR performance of six HDPE samples was determined per ASTM D1693. The failed specimens were further characterized by scanning electron microscopy and fractographic methodology to investigate the failure mechanism. HDPE resins with low ESCR values had crack surfaces characterized by shorter and fewer fibrils. A new empirical model to predict polymer ESCR using tie chain concentration with different integration range, and water vapor transmission rate, to characterize detergent diffusion in the crack, was developed. The proposed empirical parameter improves the prediction of ESCR. The ability to predict ESCR performance from resin properties is a beneficial tool for new product development. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 49:2085-2091, 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2085-2091
Number of pages7
JournalPolymer Engineering and Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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