Hydrogen transport in metals: Integration of permeation, thermal desorption and degassing

03 May 2018

A modelling suite for hydrogen transport during electrochemical permeation, degassing and thermal desorption spectroscopy is presented. The approach is based on Fick's diffusion laws, where the initial concentration and diffusion coefficients depend on microstructure and charging conditions. The evolution equations are shown to reduce to classical models for hydrogen diffusion and thermal desorption spectroscopy. The number density of trapping sites is found to be proportional to the mean spacing of each microstructural feature, including dislocations, grain boundaries and various precipitates. The model is validated with several steel grades and polycrystalline nickel for a wide range of processing conditions and microstructures. A systematic study of the factors affecting hydrogen mobility in martensitic steels showed that dislocations control the effective diffusion coefficient of hydrogen. However, they also release hydrogen into the lattice more rapidly than other kind of traps. It is suggested that these effects contribute to the increased susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement in martensitic and other high-strength steels. These results show that the methodology can be employed as a tool for alloy and process design, and that dislocation kinematics play a crucial role in such design.