HDPE pipes are considered by the nuclear industry as a potential replacement option to currently employed metallic piping for service-water applications. The pipes operate under high temperatures and pressures. Hence HDPE pipes are being evaluated from perspective of design, operation, and service life requirements before routine installation in nuclear power plants. Various articles of the ASME Code Case N-755 consider the different aspects related to material performance, design, fabrication, and examination of HDPE materials. Amongst them, the material resistance (part of Article 2000) to the slow crack growth (SCG) from flaws/cracks present in HDPE pipe materials is an important concern. Experimental investigations have revealed that there is a marked difference (almost three orders less) in the time to failure when the notch/flaw is in the butt-fusion joint, as opposed to when the notch/flaw is located in the parent HDPE material. As part of ongoing studies, the material resistance to SCG was investigated earlier for unimodal materials. The current study investigated the SCG in parent and butt-fusion joint materials of bimodal HDPE (PE4710) pipe materials acquired from two different manufacturers. The various stages of the specimen deformation and failure during the creep test are characterized. Detailed photographs of the specimen side-surface were used to monitor the specimen damage accumulation and SCG. The SCG was tested using a large specimen (large creep frame) as well as using a smaller size specimen (PENT frame) and the results were compared. Further, the effect of polymer orientation or microstructure in the bimodal HDPE pipe on the SCG was studied using specimens with axial and circumferential notch orientations in the parent pipe material.

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