Failure Analysis and Prevention
Hydrogen Damage and Embrittlement
This article provides an overview of the classification of hydrogen damage. Some specific types of the damage are hydrogen embrittlement, hydrogen-induced blistering, cracking from precipitation of internal hydrogen, hydrogen attack, and cracking from hydride formation. The article focuses on the types of hydrogen embrittlement that occur in all the major commercial metal and alloy systems, including stainless steels, nickel-base alloys, aluminum and aluminum alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, copper and copper alloys, and transition and refractory metals. The specific types of hydrogen embrittlement discussed include internal reversible hydrogen embrittlement, hydrogen environment embrittlement, and hydrogen reaction embrittlement. The article describes preservice and early-service fractures of commodity-grade steel components suspected of hydrogen embrittlement. Some prevention strategies for design and manufacturing problem-induced hydrogen embrittlement are also reviewed.