The Influence of Molecular Variables on Fatigue Resistance in Stress Cracking Environments

  • V. AltstädtEmail author
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 188)


The increasing economic importance of the polymer industry is responsible for a growing interest in the prediction of the lifetime of polymers. Although the influence of molecular parameters on the fatigue resistance in polymers has been intensively addressed, little work has been devoted to the same topic in stress cracking environments. Because of the complexity of the topic, we have studied different cases of mechanical loading, short-time, long-time, static, and dynamic in a stress cracking environment with special attention paid to fatigue, where the polymer is dynamically loaded over a long period. Fatigue crack propagation experiments can be employed as a fast and effective method for determining the long-term mechanical properties of polymers. We have particularly studied the effect of molecular weight, chain regularity, medium parameters, and processing and treatments on fatigue resistance. Special attention is also paid to the existing environmetal stress cracking prevention methods. We present an overview of the existing work and also our personal contribution to the field.

Environmental stress cracking Fatigue crack growth Molecular variables 



length of precrack


acrylonitrile butadiene styrene






semiminor axis


butyl acetate




cohesive energy density


crack opening displacement


compact tension


sample thickness (CT-specimen)


heat of vaporization


stress intensity factor amplitude


threshold value of ΔK


critical value of ΔK


pressure gradient


dynamic elastic modulus


epoxy resin


environmetal stress cracking


environmental stress cracking resistance




fatigue crack propagation


molar attraction constant


energy per unit area of crack


high-impact polystyrene


isopropyl alcohol


Darcy's constant


critical stress intensity factor


molecular weight


molecular weight distribution


number of cycles


nuclear magnetic resonance








high-density polyethylene


low-density polyethylene


linear low-density polyethylene














polyvinylidene fluoride


stress ratio


stress versus number of cycles


styrene acrylonitrile


stress corrosion cracking


scanning electron microscopy


specimen thickness


failure time in Igepal solution






glass-transition temperature


urethane methacrylate


ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene


bisphenol-vinylester resin


molar volume


ligament length


distance along semimajor axis to point of interest


Hildebrand solubility parameter


elliptical rig


critical strain value


liquid viscosity


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The author gratefully acknowledges the fruitful discussions with Henning Kausch and Falko Ramsteiner. In addition, the supply of experimental data on PMMA by Frank Fischer and the help in preparing the manuscript by Sandrine Müller, Eva Bittmann, and Jan Sandler are acknowledged. Thanks are due to BASF AG and Röhm GmbH und Co KG for supplying the materials.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Polymere Werkstoffe, Polymer Engineering – FAN AUniversität BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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