Understanding the Interaction between a Steel Microstructure and Hydrogen

Materials (Basel). 2018 Apr 28;11(5):698. doi: 10.3390/ma11050698.


The present work provides an overview of the work on the interaction between hydrogen (H) and the steel’s microstructure. Different techniques are used to evaluate the H-induced damage phenomena. The impact of H charging on multiphase high-strength steels, i.e., high-strength low-alloy (HSLA), transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP) and dual phase (DP) is first studied. The highest hydrogen embrittlement resistance is obtained for HSLA steel due to the presence of Ti- and Nb-based precipitates. Generic Fe-C lab-cast alloys consisting of a single phase, i.e., ferrite, bainite, pearlite or martensite, and with carbon contents of approximately 0, 0.2 and 0.4 wt %, are further considered to simplify the microstructure. Finally, the addition of carbides is investigated in lab-cast Fe-C-X alloys by adding a ternary carbide forming element to the Fe-C alloys. To understand the H/material interaction, a comparison of the available H trapping sites, the H pick-up level and the H diffusivity with the H-induced mechanical degradation or H-induced cracking is correlated with a thorough microstructural analysis.

Keywords: hydrogen embrittlement; hydrogen-induced cracking; in situ tensile testing; permeation; thermal desorption spectroscopy.