Technological watch

Damaging effect of admixtures used in crop protection products on high density polyethylene packaging material

The phenomenon of environmental stress cracking is still a major issue in materials engineering as well as from a scientific perspective. Especially in the case of packaging materials made of high-density polyethylene, assessing the potential of premature damage due to environmental stress cracking is complex because of the large number of components in possible liquid filling goods. As a first guideline, the well-known effect of detergents and dispersants is usually considered, but the interplay with other components, such as organic solvents is often unknown. Particularly challenging in this respect are crop protection products, consisting of several different admixtures in addition to the biologically active ingredients. This study is based on two model liquids representing these admixtures that were established for testing in this context. The model liquids as well as their constituting components were used as liquid media in the Full Notch Creep Test to characterize the environmental stress cracking behavior of a typical high-density polyethylene. Complementary to the time-to failure of a notched specimen obtained from these tests, the crack opening was monitored optically, and the fracture surface was analyzed post-failure by laser scanning microscopy as well as scanning electron microscopy. Based on the results, the effect of various surfactants as well as the influence of organic solvents on environmental stress cracking are discussed.

Publication date: 01/10/2022

Author: Maximilian Thuy, Ute Niebergall, Harald Oehler, Ingo Alig, Martin Böhning

Polymer Testing


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.