High-temperature hydrogen attack of carbon steel

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6 Scopus citations


A systematic study was made of the mechanical properties and the microscopic fracture processes associated with hydrogen attack of SAE 1020 carbon steel in a well-controlled, high-temperature, high-purity hydrogen environment. Exposure to a hydrogen pressure of 3.5 MN m-2 and temperature 525° C was found to progressively degrade room-temperature tensile properties with increasing exposure time. After exposure for 360 h the yield and ultimate strength were reduced by 58% and 40% of the unexposed values, respectively, and the elongation-at-fracture was reduced to less than 2%. Sub-critical crack growth tests under conditions of static loading were conducted at various temperatures and hydrogen pressures. It was observed that blisters and tears were not evenly distributed on the hydrogen-attacked specimens, but their distributions were, instead, very dependent on specimen thickness. During the hydrogen attack, tears form and undergo crack growth as a result of the formation and accumulation of methane under high pressure at the weak interfaces such as at the inclusion-matrix or ferrite-pearlite bands. If the tear is located close to the surface it bulges and forms into a blister. Tears and blisters may lead to accelerated failure by hydrogen attack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2962-2966
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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