Hydrogen embrittlement is a process resulting in a decrease of toughness or ductility of a metal due to the presence of hydrogen. Hydrogen embrittlement happens when hydrogen atoms diffuse through a metal.
At high temperatures, the elevated solubility of hydrogen allows hydrogen to diffuse into the metal, or the hydrogen can diffuse in at a low temperature, assisted by a concentration gradient. When these hydrogen atoms re-combine in minuscule voids of the met
al matrix to form hydrogen molecules, they create pressure from inside the cavity they are in. This pressure can increase to levels where the metal has reduced ductility and tensile strength, to the point where it cracks open, a process known as hyd
rogen-induced cracking (HIC). High-strength and low-alloy steels, nickel and titanium alloys are most susceptible.
Standard Test Method for Mechanical Hydrogen Embrittlement Evaluation of Plating/Coating Processes and Service Environments. ASTM F519 evaluates for environmental hydrogen embrittlement: resulting from hydrogen being absorbed by solid metals. It can occur during elevated-temperature thermal treatments and in service during electroplating, contact with maintenance chemicals, corrosion reactions, cathodic protection, and operating in high-pressure hydrogen.
It is intended to be used as a qualification test for new plating/coating processes and as a periodic inspection audit for the control of a plating/coating process. The test method describes mechanical test methods and defines acceptance criteria for coating and plating processes that can cause hydrogen embrittlement in steels. Subsequent exposure to chemicals encountered in service environments, such as fluids, cleaning treatments or maintenance chemicals that come in contact with the plated/coated or bare surface of the steel, can also be evaluated.
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