Effect of electrochemical charging on the hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility of Alloy 718
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The susceptibility of age-hardened nickel-based Alloy 718 to hydrogen embrittlement was studied by the controlled electrochemical charging combined with slow strain-rate tensile tests (SSRT) and advanced characterization techniques. We proposed some novel ideas of explaining hydrogen embrittlement mechanisms of the studied material in regard to two cracking morphologies: transgranular and intergranular cracking. It is for the first time to report that electrochemical charging alone could cause slip lines, surface and subsurface cracks on nickel-based superalloys. The formation of pre-damages was discussed by calculating the hydrogen concentration gradient and the internal stress generated during cathodic charging. Pre-damages were proved to result in transgranular cracks and lead to the evident reduction of mechanical properties. In addition, the STRONG (Slip Transfer Resistance of Neighbouring Grains) model was used to analyze the dependence of hydrogen-assisted intergranular cracking on the microscopic incompatibility of the grain boundaries. The results show that in the presence of hydrogen, grain boundaries with a lower dislocation slip transmission are more prone to cracking during loading and vice versa.