Grain-size and heat-treatment effects in hydrogen-assisted cracking of austenitic stainless steels

E. Minkovitz, D. Eliezer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hydrogen embrittlement of 304L and 316L types austenitic stainless steels has been studied by charging thin tensile specimens with hydrogen through cathodic polarization. Throughout this study we have compared solution-annealed samples, having various prior austenite grain size, with samples given the additional sensitization treatment. The results of the tensile tests while undergoing cathodic charging show that the additional sensitization treatment and coarse-grained samples together, lower the mechanical properties in both 304L and 316L types, and the sensitized steel is more susceptible to hydrogen-assisted cracking. However, the room-temperature yield and ultimate strengths, and the elongation of type 316L, were much less affected depending on the heat treatment and prior austenitic grain size. The fracture surfaces of the specimens tested while cathodically charged show considerable differences between the annealed and the sensitized specimens. The sensitized coarse-grained specimens were predominantly intergranular in both 304L and 316L types, while the annealed 316L type specimens fracture shows massive regions of microvoid coalescence producing ductile rupture and the annealed 304L type specimens fracture were primarily transgranular and cleavage-like. Sensitization seems both to facilitate the penetration of hydrogen along the grain boundaries into the steel and to introduce susceptibility to fracture along grain boundaries while refined grain size improves resistance regardless of the failure mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3172
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics


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