Environmental Stress Cracking

Published: May 21, 2017 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Environmental Stress Cracking Mean?

Environmental stress cracking (ESC) is a material’s susceptibility to crack or craze when simultaneously exposed to chemical and mechanical stress. It is one of the most common causes of failure in thermoplastics. Liquid chemicals have the ability to cause and accelerate crazing, and when combined with cyclic stresses can significantly reduce a material’s strength.

Environmental stress cracking is often times referred to as environmental stress fractures, or stress corrosion cracking when it occurs in metals.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Environmental Stress Cracking

Environmental stress cracking can also affect metals and can result in premature failure when exposed to tensile stresses. The underlying chemical agent responsible for environmental stress cracking does not involve a direct chemical attack. Instead, the chemical saturates the material and then interferes in the molecular structure of the material composition and its intermolecular forces. This causes an accelerated molecular disconnection. ESC can be identified by brittle fractures, multiple cracks, craze remnants and alternate bands.



Environmental Stress Fractures

Stress Corossion Cracking

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