Hydrogen damage in 34CrMo4 pressure vessel steel with high tensile strength
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Various efforts have been made to improve the safety of high-pressure gas cylinders for hydrogen or natural gas with high strength steel liners. Metal liners with high tensile strength have a safety concern, particularly with hydrogen gas or hydrogen generating environments. The hydrogen can permeate into the liner material, and make the material brittle, causing hydrogen damage. This study investigated resistance to hydrogen damage for two kinds of 34CrMo4 steel with different strength levels. Hydrogen was charged with the electrochemical method, and the material strength was measured by the small punch testing technique. Hydrogen concentration of the specimen was also measured for every testing condition, with various charging periods. The specimens with high tensile strength absorbed more hydrogen than the regular tensile strength specimens. The absorbed hydrogen caused internal damage of intergranular cracking and blistering. Material ductility at failure decreased, as the hydrogen concentration of the specimen increased. But the hydrogen concentration had virtually no effect on the strength of the materials with hydrogen. These results confirm that the susceptibility to hydrogen damage of the high tensile strength materials is much higher than that of the materials with regular strength. If the metal liner of a hoop-wrapped cylinder vessel of type II has high tensile strength, general corrosion at the liner surface can cause a hydrogen rich environment, and the cylinder can suffer hydrogen damage and embrittlement. Therefore, controlling the strength level under an optimal level is critical for the safety of a cylinder made with 34CrMo4 steel.
KeywordsCrMo steel Electrochemical hydrogen Embrittlement Hydrogen cracking Pressure vessel Small punch test
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