Most failures of unplasticised poly(vinyl chloride) (uPVC) pipes used in the Dutch gas distribution network originate from third party damage. Brittle pipes should therefore be replaced to ensure safe operation of the network. In this study, the relation between physical aging and embrittlement of uPVC is investigated using instrumented falling weight impact tests. The ductile to brittle transition temperature was first measured for a water pipe grade uPVC at different stages of aging. As a hypothesis, a critical stress criterion is proposed above which failure is brittle. The evolution of the ductile to brittle transition temperature that followed from the use of this hypothesis and a model for the polymer yield stress agrees qualitatively with the experimental data. A minor increase in transition temperature was observed for the water pipe grade with aging. Applying the same hypothesis to a uPVC gas pipe grade shows a more pronounced influence of physical aging.
- Impact testing
- Ductile to brittle transition
- Yield stress
- Physical aging
- Poly(vinyl chloride)