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|High-performance plastic sled design for polar traversing
|Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineering for Polar Operations, Logistics and Research Program (U.S.)
National Science Foundation (U.S.). Division of Polar Programs.
Weale, Jason C.
Lever, J. H.
Trovillion, Jonathan C.
High-performance plastic sleds
HMW-PE polar sleds
HMW-PE sled durability
Polar sled development
|Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
|ERDC TR ; 15-2.
Abstract: Over-snow resupply traverses in Antarctica and Greenland tow high-efficiency fuel sleds that consist of flexible fuel bladders strapped to flexible sheets of high molecular weight polyethylene (HMW-PE). Despite low towing stresses, initial HMW-PE sheets were prone to cracking and failure within 1 to 2 years of service. This report describes the results of low-temperature, uniaxial tensile tests, following ASTM Standard D638, that we used to set specifications on HMW-PE sheets for polar sleds, aiming to increase service life. Tests of the original HMW-PE formulations showed significant reductions in ductility, as measured by percent elongation at break, at −40°C compared with 23°C. HMW-PE manufacturers subsequently cooperated to supply sheets with greater low-temperature ductility, and the rate of sled breakages decreased dramatically. Performance specifications for new HMW-PE sheets for polar traverses now include a requirement for greater than 60% elongation at break at −40°C, as measured using ASTM 638 uniaxial tensile tests.
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