Industrial fasteners of two different steel microstructures were investigated using incremental step load testing based on ASTM F1624, Standard Test Method for Measurement of Hydrogen Embrittlement Threshold in Steel by the Incremental Step Loading Technique. The microstructures consisted of tempered martensite and lower bainite. The purpose was to compare hydrogen embrittlement (HE) susceptibility at different hydrogen charging conditions. The results showed that lower bainite exhibited marginally lower HE susceptibility when tested under moderate hydrogen charging conditions (e.g., −1.0 V). At the most severe hydrogen charging potential of −1.2 V, both microstructures are equally embrittled. These results are explained by the differences in the transport and trapping kinetics of hydrogen in bainite as compared to martensite.
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