Affiliations: Muroran Research Laboratory, The Japan Steel Works, Ltd, Muroran, Japan
Note:  Address for correspondence: Koichi Takasawa, Muroran Research Laboratory, The Japan Steel Works, Ltd, 4 Chatsu-machi, Muroran 051-8505, Japan. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The effect of grain size on the susceptibility of high-strength low alloy steels to hydrogen environment embrittlement in a 45 MPa gaseous hydrogen atmosphere was examined in term of the hydrogen content penetrating the specimen during the deformation. Notch tensile tests were performed in a 45 MPa hydrogen environment using specimens with different prior austenite grain size numbers varying from 2.5 to 5.4. The hydrogen content was measured by thermal desorption analysis with a quadrupole mass spectrometer before and after the tensile test. The fracture stress of the notch tensile test increased with decreasing grain size; this showed that grain refinement was effective in reducing the susceptibility of the specimens to hydrogen environment embrittlement in a high-pressure hydrogen atmosphere. The addition of nickel did not affect the fracture stress. A remarkable increase in the content of diffusive hydrogen was observed after the notch tensile test. Assuming that part of the diffusive hydrogen desorbed from grain boundaries, it can be inferred that grain refinement can reduce the mass of hydrogen in the unit grain boundary area, and the susceptibility to high-pressure hydrogen environment embrittlement.