Hydrogen embrittlement of a precipitation-hardened Fe-26Mn-11Al-1.2C (wt.%) austenitic steel was examined by tensile testing under hydrogen charging and thermal desorption analysis. While the high strength of the alloy (>1 GPa) was not affected, hydrogen charging reduced the engineering tensile elongation from 44 to only 5%. Hydrogen-assisted cracking mechanisms were studied via the joint use of electron backscatter diffraction analysis and orientation-optimized electron channeling contrast imaging. The observed embrittlement was mainly due to two mechanisms, namely, grain boundary triple junction cracking and slip-localization-induced intergranular cracking along micro-voids formed on grain boundaries. Grain boundary triple junction cracking occurs preferentially, while the microscopically ductile slip-localization-induced intergranular cracking assists crack growth during plastic deformation resulting in macroscopic brittle fracture appearance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology