Hydrogen effects on mechanical properties of 18% Cr ferritic stainless steel

E. Malitckii*, Y. Yagodzinskyy, P. Lehto, H. Remes, J. Romu, H. Hänninen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Role of microstructure in susceptibility of 18Cr ferritic stainless steel to hydrogen embrittlement was studied. Specimens of the studied steel were charged with hydrogen electrochemically from 0.1 N H2SO4 solution under controlled cathodic potential providing a homogeneous hydrogen distribution over the specimen cross-sections. Thermal desorption spectroscopy analyses were carried out investigating the uptake, trapping and diffusion of hydrogen in the ferritic stainless steel. Microstructural change caused by heat-treatment at 1050 °C and 1200 °C associated preferably with grain size growth from 18 µm to 65 µm and 349 µm, respectively, resulting in significant degradation of the mechanical properties of the studied steel. The effect of the grain size growth on hydrogen susceptibility was studied with constant extension rate test (CERT) performed under continuous hydrogen charging. It is found that hydrogen has a remarkable effect on the elongation to fracture of the Fe-Cr ferrite: in the presence of H elongation to fracture of the steel reduces up to 75% compared to the H-free counterpart. In general, the hydrogen sensitivity of the mechanical properties increases with increase of the mean grain size of the studied ferritic stainless steel. However, the detailed analysis reveals a complicated, non-linear behavior of the hydrogen sensitivity. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the fracture surfaces of the tensile specimens tested during continuous hydrogen charging reveals a quasi-cleavage fracture surface morphology. Hydrogen-induced cracking in the studied 18Cr ferritic steel was studied using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis from the side surfaces of the tensile tested specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Ferritic stainless steel
  • Hydrogen embrittlement
  • Hydrogen thermal desorption
  • Hydrogen-induced cracking


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