The hydrogen embrittlement of a commercial-grade pure iron was examined by using repeated stress-relaxation tests under simultaneous cathodic hydrogen charging. The hydrogen-charged iron, containing an estimated 25.8 appm H, fractured after repeated transients, with a total strain of ∼5%. The fracture mode was intergranular. Thermal activation measurements show a decrease in activation volume and free energy, which is consistent with hydrogen enhancing the dislocation velocity. The microstructure beneath the intergranular facets displays a dislocation cell structure more complex than expected for intergranular fracture and this strain-to-failure. It is proposed that hydrogen accelerates the evolution of the dislocation microstructure through the hydrogen-enhanced plasticity mechanism and this work-hardening of the matrix along with the attendant hydrogen concentration at the grain boundaries are crucial steps in causing the observed hydrogen-induced intergranular failure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Metals and Alloys