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The article commences with an overview of short-term and long-term mechanical properties of polymeric materials. It discusses plasticization, solvation, and swelling in rubber products. The article further describes environmental stress cracking and degradation of polymers. It illustrates how surface degradation of a plain strain tension specimen alters the ductile brittle transition in polyethylene creep rupture. The article concludes with information on the effects of temperature on polymer performance.

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Donald E. Duvall, Effect of Environment on the Performance of Plastics, Failure Analysis and Prevention, Vol 11, ASM Handbook, Edited By William T. Becker, Roch J. Shipley, ASM International, 2002, p 796–799,

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