Use of polyethylene (PE) for water and natural gas transportation has increased rapidly due to its good physical and mechanical properties, especially its excellent corrosion resistance property. However, when immersed in adverse environment and subjected to applied stress, PE will suffer from accelerated crack growth in a phenomenon known as environmental stress cracking (ESC). ESC occurs in a brittle manner without little pre-fracture deformation, thus can cause catastrophic, unexpected failure for PE pipe. A number of different test methods have been developed for characterizing ESC resistance (ESCR) of PE materials. Within this paper, a state-of-the-art review is given on the current ESCR characterization methods, including the working principle and limitations of each method.

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