The Impact of Hydrogen on Mechanical Properties; A New In Situ Nanoindentation Testing Method

Micromachines (Basel). 2019 Feb 11;10(2):114. doi: 10.3390/mi10020114.


We have designed a new method for electrochemical hydrogen charging which allows us to charge very thin coarse-grained specimens from the bottom and perform nanomechanical testing on the top. As the average grain diameter is larger than the thickness of the sample, this setup allows us to efficiently evaluate the mechanical properties of multiple single crystals with similar electrochemical conditions. Another important advantage is that the top surface is not affected by corrosion by the electrolyte. The nanoindentation results show that hydrogen reduces the activation energy for homogenous dislocation nucleation by approximately 15⁻20% in a (001) grain. The elastic modulus also was observed to be reduced by the same amount. The hardness increased by approximately 4%, as determined by load-displacement curves and residual imprint analysis.

Keywords: brittleness and ductility; hardness; hydrogen embrittlement; nanoindentation; nickel.