Chung, Couch, Kim, Vibien, Oliphant
Lifetime Analysis # 2004 Milan
Environmental factors are known to significantly impact the oxidative failure mechanism of materials. For example, the chlorine present in potable water as a disinfectant is an oxidant that has been reported to impact the failure mechanism of materials in potable water applications. In this paper, the relationship between various potable water qualities, with different oxidative potentials, and chlorine induced oxidative failures of plastic piping materials is examined. The primary factors of potable water quality affecting oxidative strength are reviewed. Laboratory exposed pipe samples tested at various water qualities to ultimate failure are examined to determine the impact of water quality on the failure mode. The chlorine in potable water is seen to attack the inner pipe wall causing oxidation and degradation of this inner surface. The stresses on the inner wall lead to micro-crack formation in this degraded layer. These micro-cracks are seen to propagate radially through the pipe wall resulting in a brittle slit type failure. The failure mode is shown to be the same over a range of water qualities. The impact of chlorine is shown to be simply one of oxidation with the rate of degradation primarily related to the oxidative strength of the potable water. For the PEX pipe material examined, it is projected that material end use performance can significantly exceed the excellent predicted performance based on testing at the aggressive water qualities typically employed in validation testing, depending on the specific water quality of the end use application.