The purpose of this paper is to reveal the dominant factors affecting tensile fracture under a hydrogen gas atmosphere. Tensile tests were conducted in hydrogen gas with circumferentially-notched specimens of a commercial tempered martensitic steel. Two specimens were exposed to hydrogen gas for 48. h before tensile testing; the other two specimens were not pre-charged. Longitudinal cracks along the loading direction and a transverse crack perpendicular to the loading direction were observed on a cross section of the non-charged specimen, but there was only one small crack on a cross section of the pre-charged specimen. Electron back scatter diffraction, energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry and finite element method analyses were applied to clarify the relationships among the longitudinal crack, Mn segregation, microstructures of martensitic steel and hydrogen. As a result, it has been demonstrated that Mn segregation and MnS promote hydrogen-assisted cracking in the tempered martensitic steel, causing the longitudinal cracking which is a mechanically non-preferential direction in homogeneous situations. More specifically, we have shown that the role of the Mn segregation is to promote the hydrogen-enhanced decohesion effect (HEDE), which is particularly important for crack propagation in the present case. These considerations indicate that the presence of Mn is crucially important for hydrogen-assisted cracking associated with hydrogen-enhanced localized plasticity (HELP) as well as HEDE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering