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Caution should be used when evaluating the long-term storage capability of polymeric materials in direct contact with chemically active solutions. Degradation and cracking of rotomolded, cross linked polyethylene (XLPE) storage tanks that have been used for long-term storage of potentially strong oxidizing liquids have been analyzed. Fractographic, mechanical and chemical evidence indicates that under certain conditions XLPE can be severely oxidized and degraded when concentrated industrial bleach or oxidizing acids decompose or react with the XLPE.
fractography, oxidation, sodium hypochlorite, chromic acid, failure analysis of cross linked polyethylene, XLPE
Managing Engineer, Failure Analysis Associates, Inc., Menlo Park, CA
Professor, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Poly Processing Company, Monroe, LA