Grain Size Effects in Hydrogen-Assisted Cracking

J. F. Lessar, W. W. Gerberich

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87 Scopus citations


There is conflicting evidence in the literature with respect to the effect of grain size on hydrogen embrittlement. Differences may arise because of the degree of segregation in different grain size materials, because of different structures obtained in the effort to produce varying grain sizes, or because of the grain-size dependency of diffusion and growth processes. An extremely dirty heat of 4340 steel with 0.07 S and 0.015 P was investigated so that any tramp element segregation or hydrogen recombination poison effects would be present. Measurements were obtained on cathodically-charged samples with average grain sizes of 20, 50, 90 and 140 μm. In general, tramp element effects were not controlling. For those cases where the grain diameter was significantly larger than the plastic zone, increased grain size improved resistance. This was reflected by a slight increase in threshold stress intensity and an inverse grain-size squared dependence of crack velocity. Although the data are consistent with a pressure tensor hydrogen-assisted migration model, they could also be interpreted in terms of high austenitizing temperatures promoting retained austenite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-960
Number of pages8
JournalMetallurgical Transactions A
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1976


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