The effect of quenching-tempering (QT) treatment on the hydrogen embrittlement (HE) resistance of a reactor pressure vessel steel was studied. Decomposition of M3C/VC carbides and precipitation of M7C3 carbides were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography observations. Tensile tests showed that HE sensitivity decreased to a negligible level after QT treatment. The improvement of HE resistance was mainly attributed to the decreased number of M3C carbides which act as the reversible trapping sites for hydrogen. This was supported by the decreased concentration of reversible hydrogen as measured by thermal desorption spectroscopy. The amount of irreversible hydrogen (probably trapped at VC carbides) also decreased, which is however not considered responsible for the HE improvement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Fuel Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology