Studies of SCC and Hydrogen Embrittlement of High Strength Alloys Using Fracture Mechanics Methods
Fracture mechanics based test and evaluation techniques are used to gain insight into the phenomenon of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) and to develop guidance for avoiding or controlling SCC. Complementary to well known constant load and constant deflection test methods experiments that are based on rising load or rising displacement situations and are specified in the new ISO standard 7539 – Part 9 may be applied to achieve these goals. These are particularly suitable to study cases of SCC and hydrogen embrittlement of high strength steels, aluminium and titanium alloys and to characterise the susceptibility of these materials to environmentally assisted cracking. In addition, the data generated in such R-curve tests can be used to model the degradation of the material caused by the uptake of atomic hydrogen from the environment. This is shown for the case of a high strength structural steel (FeE 690T) where in fracture mechanics SCC tests on pre-cracked C(T) specimens a correlation between the rate of change in plastic deformation and the crack extension rate due to hydrogen embrittlement was established. The influence of plastic strain on the hydrogen diffusion was additionally studied by electrochemical permeation experiments. By modelling this diffusion based on the assumption that trapping of the hydrogen atoms takes place at trap sites which are generated by the plastic deformation, a good agreement was achieved between experimentally obtained data and model predictions.
W. Dietzel et al., "Studies of SCC and Hydrogen Embrittlement of High Strength Alloys Using Fracture Mechanics Methods", Materials Science Forum, Vol. 482, pp. 11-16, 2005