Review on the influence of temperature upon hydrogen effects in structural alloys
It is well-documented experimentally that the influence of hydrogen on the mechanical properties of structural alloys like austenitic stainless steels, nickel superalloys, and carbon steels strongly depends on temperature. A typical curve plotting any hydrogen-affected mechanical property as a function of temperature gives a temperature THE,max, where the degradation of this mechanical property reaches a maximum. Above and below this temperature, the degradation is less. Unfortunately, the underlying physico-mechanical mechanisms are not currently understood to the level of detail required to explain such temperature effects. Though this temperature effect is important to understand in the context of engineering applications, studies to explain or even predict the effect of temperature upon the mechanical properties of structural alloys could not be identified. The available experimental data are scattered significantly, and clear trends as a function of chemistry or microstructure are difficult to see. Reported values for THE,max are in the range of about 200340 K, which covers the typical temperature range for the design of structural components of about 230310 K (from -40 to +40 °C). That is, the value of THE,max itself, as well as the slope of the gradient, might affect the materials selection for a dedicated application. Given the current lack of scientific understanding, a statistical approach appears to be a suitable way to account for the temperature effect in engineering applications. This study reviews the effect of temperature upon hydrogen effects in structural alloys and proposes recommendations for test temperatures for gaseous hydrogen applications.