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Hydrogen Damage

Last updated: December 12, 2013

What Does Hydrogen Damage Mean?

Hydrogen damage refers to the mechanical damage of metal that occurs due to the interaction with or presence of hydrogen. It creates structural damage in various materials. The use of high-strength structural materials is a necessity; thus, material problems caused by hydrogen damage are key considerations in storage, large scale production and transportation.


Corrosionpedia Explains Hydrogen Damage

With hydrogen damage, multiple metal degradation processes occur due to interaction with hydrogen. For example, in boiler tubes, hydrogen damage is caused by a corrosive reaction between steam and steel, resulting in decreased material strength and localized corrosion. This damage is localized and requires careful scanning for detection.

Types of hydrogen damage include:

  • Solid solution hardening
  • Internal defect creation
  • Hydride embrittlement
  • Hydrogen embrittlement

Each may further be classified into various damaging processes.

Hydrogen failure is time-dependent and occurs at low rates of strain, as the load bearing cross section is reduced in the embrittled region during slow crack growth. Embrittlement susceptibility is higher in alloys with higher yield strengths.

Hydrogen damage can be controlled by prohibiting contact between metal and hydrogen, and a variety of steps can reduce hydrogen's entry into metals during critical operations and corrosion during their service life.

The two major approaches used to reduce hydrogen damage are: control of the environment and metallurgical control of the material used to decrease hydrogen susceptibility.


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