2012 Volume 98 Issue 5 Pages 197-206
Hydrogen behavior and hydrogen-enhanced lattice defect formation under elastic stress of tempered martensitic steel were clarified with respect to dislocations and vacancies by thermal desorption analysis (TDA) using hydrogen as a probe of defects and a positron probe microanalyzer (PPMA). The relationship between hydrogen embrittlement and lattice defects associated with hydrogen was also investigated. The amount of lattice defects increased gradually with increasing the time of applied stress during hydrogen charging. The specimen fractured under elastic stress in the presence of hydrogen macroscopically showed brittle fracture without necking. Whereas fracture surface was attributed to localized plastic deformation, since the morphology of the microscopic fracture surface was mostly quasi-cleavage fracture. The increased lattice defects in the near-fracture area were subsequently removed by annealing at 200°C. The mean positron annihilation lifetime measured with the PPMA for a fractured specimen was longer in the near-fracture area than in other areas. Thus, the most probable reason for the increase in the amount of lattice defects can be ascribed to an increase in the amount of vacancies or vacancy clusters. Regarding hydrogen embrittlement involving microscopic plastic deformation, the localized enhanced vacancies due to interactions between dislocations and hydrogen under elastic stress directly caused ductility loss, because ductility loss occurred even though hydrogen was completely removed by degassing before the tensile test. Besides hydrogen content and applied stress, the time of formation and accumulation of vacancies are also concluded to be important factors causing hydrogen embrittlement.