Polyethylene (PE) has now been widely used to make plastic pipe for gas transportation. Because of its excellent ductility, processes for repair and maintenance of PE pipe allow squeeze-flattening the pipe to reduce the gas flow. Our previous study has shown that stretch of PE, even at a low strain level, can cause damage of the material, and significance of the damage depends on the strain rate. This paper presents results from a follow-up study, to investigate the possibility of quantifying the influence of damage on the mechanical properties. Coupon specimens used in this study have the same geometry as that used previously. Each specimen was tested twice. The 1st test was to introduce the damage, by stretching the specimen at a crosshead speed of 1 mm/min; the 2nd test to characterize the influence of the damage on the mechanical properties, by stretching the specimen at 1 μm/min. The two crosshead speeds were chosen because the former (1 mm/min) is known to introduce much more damage than the latter (1 μm/min) at a same strain level. Therefore, change in mechanical properties observed from the 2nd test should mainly come from the damage generated in the 1st test. To avoid influence of viscous recovery from the 1st test on the results from the 2nd test, the two tests were conducted more than one month apart. Test results show that even by stretching the specimen to a strain level below the yield point in the 1st test (i.e. with the strain less than 0.1), damage introduced to the specimen can cause a detectable decrease in the mechanical properties, such as the tangent modulus at the strain 0.01 and the stress response at the strain 0.1, from the 2nd test. The results also show that the rate of decrease of the above values with the increase of strain becomes significant when the strain level introduced in the 1st test is above the yield point. By stretching the specimen to a strain level about 0.5 in the 1st test, though yet to cause apparent necking or stress whitening, the tangent modulus and the stress response in the 2nd test are decreased by about one-third of the values for the virgin specimen. This amount of change is significant and should not be ignored for long-term applications such as for gas transportation.

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