American Society of Civil Engineers

Stress-Cracking Resistance of High-Density Polyethylene Geomembranes

by Y. G. Hsuan, (Asst. Prof., Civ. Engr., Geosynthetic Res. Inst., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA 19104), R. M. Koerner, Hon.M.ASCE, (H. L. Bowman Prof. of Civ. Engrg., Geosynthetic Res. Inst., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA), and A. E. Lord, Jr., (Prof. of Physics, Geosynthetic Res. Inst., Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA)

Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, Vol. 119, No. 11, November 1993, pp. 1840-1855, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: A new index test method, the notched constant tensile load (NCTL) test, for evaluating high-density polyethylene (HDPE) geomembranes regarding stress-cracking resistance is presented in this paper. Eighteen commercially virgin geomembranes and 7 field-exhumed geomembranes were evaluated using the new test. Results show a wide variation in the onset of the transition time. For the 18 virgin geomembranes, the transition times range from 10 hours to 5,000 hours. In addition, all 7 field-exhumed geomembranes, where failures actually occurred, show transition times less than 100 hours. An evaluation of the test results leads to a tentative recommendation that the transition time for an acceptable HDPE geomembrane should be 100 hours or longer. A comparison between the results of the NCTL test and the currently used ASTM D 1693 bent-strip test was conducted. It indicates that the bent-strip test cannot adequately evaluate stress cracking resistance, and that the NCTL test is a more critical test in the assessment of such behavior.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Brittle failures