The main purpose of the present paper is to investigate the effect of strain rate, specimen thickness and welding on the fracture toughness. The material of the investigated pipe is a high-density polyethylene, (HDPE) which is commonly used in natural gas piping systems. The welding technique used in this study is butt fusion (BF) welding technique. The crosshead speed ranged from 5 to 500 mm/min and specimen thickness ranged from 9 to 45mm for both welded and unwelded specimens at room temperature, Ta equal 20 °C. Curved three point bend (CTPB) specimens were used to determine KQ. Furthermore, the results of fracture toughness, KQ, will be compared with the plane strain fracture toughness, JIC, for welded and unwelded specimens. The experimental results revealed that KQ increases with increasing the crosshead speed, while KQ decreases as the specimen thickness increases. The investigation reveals that the apparent fracture toughness, KQ, for HDPE pipe of unwelded specimen is greater than that of corresponding value for welded specimen. The same trend was observed for the plane strain fracture toughness, JIc. At lower crosshead speeds there is a minimum deviation in KQ between welded and unwelded specimens, while the deviation becomes larger with increasing crosshead speed.

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