Fatigue crack growth of two carbon steels with different pearlite volume fractions were studied in pressurized gaseous hydrogen environment. Notably, pearlite was found to mitigate hydrogen-assisted fatigue crack acceleration. This positive impact of pearlite was ascribed to ferrite/cementite lamellar aligned perpendicularly to the cracking direction, which functioned as barriers to intermittently arrest the crack propagation. Meanwhile, brittle delamination fracture ensued in the pearlite lamellar lying parallel to the crack-plane increased the crack growth rate and compromised the above positive effect to some extent. The material behavior is rationalized in light of fractographical observations and microstructural analyses of the crack-wake.
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