Hydrogen effects on mechanical performance of nodular cast iron

Antti Forsström*, Yuriy Yagodzinskyy, Hannu Hänninen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The KBS-3 method for long-term disposal of spent nuclear fuel is designed with an external self-standing copper shell, which provides the most important barrier against corrosion and escape of radionuclides, and an internal nodular cast iron insert, which provides the load-bearing structure against external loads. The material intended for the load-bearing insert is ferritic nodular cast iron EN 1563 grade EN-GJS-400-15U. In this paper, hydrogen uptake and sensitivity to hydrogen-induced cracking of the cast iron were studied using tensile testing under continuous electrochemical charging in 1 N H2SO4 solution. Hydrogen uptake was measured by using the thermal desorption method. It was found that the hydrogen desorption profile manifests three distinct peaks at initial locations of 400, 500, and 700 K with a heating rate of 6 K/min. Plastic deformation results in a remarkable increase of the 400 K peak, which indicates hydrogen uptake during deformation. In the constant extension rate tests (CERT) and the constant load tests (CLT), electrochemical hydrogen charging reduced markedly the elongation to fracture and time to fracture, respectively. In CLT, hydrogen charging increased dramatically the creep rate at the applied load of about 0.7 yield stress. Ligaments between the graphite nodules exhibit brittle cleavage facets in the presence of hydrogen, while the ligaments show a characteristic ductile appearance of shear and small dimples when testing in air or distilled water. The obtained results are discussed in terms of the known mechanisms of hydrogen-induced cracking and the role of the graphite nodules in the embrittlement of ductile cast iron.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
JournalCorrosion Reviews
Issue number5
Early online date31 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • copper canister
  • creep
  • hydrogen embrittlement
  • nodular cast iron
  • spent nuclear fuel disposal

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