Exploring Comprehensive Crack Propagation Testing 

Discover the world of crack propagation testing with Element, where we delve into the intricacies of the cutting-edge Small-Scale Steady-State Test, commonly known as the ISO 13477 S4 Test. This method stands as a beacon in the assessment of resistance to rapid crack propagation, especially vital in the realm of Polyethylene (PE) pressure pipes operating in sub-zero temperatures.


Testing Methods for In-Depth Insights

Element’s globally recognized Plastic Pipes & Fittings Testing program is synonymous with excellence, encompassing the RCP/S4 Test. This program provides indispensable insights for a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including resin manufacturers, pipe extruders, certification bodies, and utility companies worldwide. Tailored for those seeking independent, reliable, and reproducible test data, our program is designed to address the core aspects of crack propagation testing, ensuring the highest standards of performance evaluation.

The Science Behind Accurate Thermoplastic Testing Procedures

The testing principle involves subjecting a section of a thermoplastic test pipe to a specified test temperature and internal pressure. The impact, strategically applied near one end, initiates a fast-running longitudinal crack. The careful design of this process aims to minimize disturbance to the test pipe during crack initiation, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the testing procedure.

Test Procedure

Stringent adherence to defined standards governs the test temperature and pressure, reflecting real-world conditions. The fluid used in the test mirrors the characteristics of the intended application or serves as an equivalent substitute. Internal baffles and an external cage play a crucial role in mitigating rapid decompression ahead of the propagating crack, ensuring controlled testing conditions.

This meticulously crafted technique achieves steady-state rapid crack propagation (RCP) in a short pipe specimen, offering a more efficient alternative to full-scale tests. Post-testing, the examined pipe undergoes meticulous scrutiny to ascertain whether crack arrest or propagation has occurred. A series of tests, conducted at varying pressures and constant temperatures, enable the precise determination of critical pressure, critical hoop stress, and critical temperature for RCP.


Our three most common Crack Propagation testing methods

Element’s commitment to comprehensive testing extends to a range of materials crucial in industrial applications.

Polyethylene (PE) Pressure Pipes

A cornerstone of many industrial applications, Element testing program places a spotlight on PE pressure pipes. Through detailed evaluations, we unravel the crack propagation behavior of PE pipes, particularly critical in sub-zero conditions. The insights gained assist in optimizing performance and ensuring longevity in diverse industrial applications.

Thermoplastic Pipes

Our testing program extends beyond PE, encompassing a broad spectrum of thermoplastic pipes. From polypropylene to PVC, each material undergoes meticulous evaluation to uncover crack initiation and propagation characteristics under specified conditions. This holistic approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of material performance.

Industry-Relevant Resins

Recognizing the pivotal role of resin manufacturers, Element conducts crack propagation tests on industry-relevant resins. These tests aid manufacturers in refining formulations, enabling them to meet or exceed industry standards. The outcome is a reliable product that stands the test of time.


Elevate Your Understanding with Element

Engage with our Plastic Pipes & Fittings Testing program to elevate your understanding of crack propagation behavior and material performance. Our industry expertise ensures that you receive comprehensive information tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to access detailed insights, request a quote, and let our expertise fortify the integrity of your thermoplastic pipes in real-world applications.

Trust Element to be your partner in achieving excellence in material testing and performance evaluation. 

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Our plastic pipes testing facility in Sweden is one of only a handful across the globe with a capacity of 5,000 test stations. We provide independent, reliable and reproducible test data for product classification and life time evaluation. Contact our team to discuss your test projects.