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Hydrogen Embrittlement

It is the process by which various metals, most importantly high-strength steel, become brittle and fracture following exposure to hydrogen. Hydrogen embrittlement is often the result of unintentional introduction of hydrogen into susceptible metals during forming or finishing operations and increases craAll steels are affected by hydrogen, as is evidenced by the influence of hydrogen on corrosion fatigue crack growth, and the occurrence of hydrogen-induced cracking5 under the influence of very high hydrogen concentrations. However, hydrogen embrittlement under static load is only experienced in steels of relatively high strength. There is no hard-and-fast limit for the strength level above which problems will be experienced, as this will be a function of the amount of hydrogen in the steel, the applied stress, the severity of the stress concentration and the composition and microstructure of the steel. As a rough guide hydrogen embrittlement is unlikely for modern steels with yield strengths below 600 MPa, and is likely to become a major problem above 1000 MPa.cking in the material.

of routes, including welding, pickling, electroplating, exposureto hydrogen-containing gases and corrosion in service. The effects of hydrogen introduced into components prior toservice may be reduced by baking for a few hours at around 200 C. this allows some of the hydrogen to diffuse out of the steel while another fraction becomes bound to relativelyharmless sites in the microstructure

Hydrogen embrittlement is also used to describe the formation of zircaloy hydride. Use of the term in this context is common in the nuclear industry.
The mechanism starts with lone hydrogen atoms diffusing through the metal. At high temperatures, the elevated solubility of hydrogen allows hydrogen to diffuse into the metal (or the hydrogen can diffuse in at a low temperature, assisted by a concentration gradient). When these hydrogen atoms re-combine in minuscule voids of the metal matrix to form hydrogen molecules, they create pressure from inside the cavity they are in. This pressure can increase to levels where the metal has reduced ductility and tensile strength up to the point where it cracks open (hydrogen induced cracking, or HIC). High-strength and low-alloy steels, nickel and titanium alloys are most susceptible. Austempered iron is also susceptible.[citation needed] Steel with an ultimate tensile strength of less than 1000 MPa or hardness of less than 30 HRC are not generally considered susceptible to

hydrogen embrittlement.

Stress Corrosion Cracking Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is the cracking induced from the combined influence of tensile stress and a corrosive environment. The impact of SCC on a material usually falls between dry cracking and the fatigue threshold of that material. (SCC) is the growth of cracks in a corrosive environment. It can lead to unexpected sudden failure of normally ductile metals subjected to a tensile stress, especially at elevated temperature in the case of metals. SCC is highly chemically specific in that certain alloys are likely to undergo SCC only when exposed to a small number of chemical environments. The chemical environment that causes SCC for a given alloy is often one which is only mildly corrosive to the metal otherwise. Hence, metal parts with severe SCC can appear bright and shiny, while being filled with microscopic cracks. This factor makes it common for SCC to go undetected prior to failure. SCC often progresses rapidly, and is more common among alloys than pure metals. The specific environment is of crucial importance, and only very small concentrations of certain highly active chemicals are needed to produce catastrophic cracking, often leading to devastating and unexpected failure.[1] The stresses can be the result of the crevice loads due to stress concentration, or can be caused by the type of assembly or residual stresses from fabrication (e.g. cold working); the residual stresses can be relieved by annealing. Austenitic stainless steels suffer from stress corrosion cracking in hot solutions containing chloride. A high chloride concentrationis required, although relatively small amounts of chloride resufficient at heated surfaces, where chloride concentration canb occur, or where chloride is concentrated by pitting or crevicebcorrosion, and problems can be experienced in tap water

Galvanic Corrosion Dissimilar metals and alloys have different electrode potentials and when two or more come into contact in an electrolyte a galvanic couple is set up, one metal acting as anode and the other as cathode. The potential difference between the dissimilar metals is the driving force for the accelerated attack on the anode member of the galvanic couple. The anode metal dissolves into the electrolyte, and deposition is formed on the cathodic metal. The electrolyte provides a means for ion migration whereby metallic ions can move from the anode to the cathode. This leads to the anodic metal corroding more quickly than it otherwise would; the corrosion of the cathodic metal is retarded even to the point of stopping. The presence of an electrolyte and a electronic conducting path between the metals is essential for galvanic corrosion to occur. Cathodic protection (CP) is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface by making it the cathode of an electrochemical cell.[1] The simplest method to apply CP is by connecting the metal to be protected with another more easily corroded "sacrificial metal" to act as the anode of the electrochemical cell. For structures where passive galvanic CP is not adequate, including long pipelines, an external power source provides the current. Cathodic protection systems are used to protect a wide range of metallic structures in various environments. Common applications are; steel water or fuel pipelines and storage tanks; steel pier piles; ships and boats; offshore oil platforms and onshore oil well casings and metal reinforcement bars in concrete buildings and structures. Cathodic protection can, in some cases, prevent stress corrosion cracking.


An air cooled cathodic protection rectifier connected to a pipeline.

Pipelines are routinely protected by a coating supplemented with cathodic protection. An ICCP system for a pipeline would consist of a DC power source, which is often an AC powered rectifier and an anode, or array of anodes buried in the ground (the anode groundbed). The DC power source would typically have a DC output of between 10 and 50 amperes and 50 volts, but this depends on several factors, such as the size of the pipeline. The positive DC output terminal would be connected via cables to the anode array, while another cable would connect the negative terminal of the rectifier to the pipeline, preferably through junction boxes to allow measurements to be taken.[14] Anodes can be installed in a vertical hole and backfilled with conductive coke (a material that improves the performance and life of the anodes) or laid in a prepared trench, surrounded by conductive coke and backfilled. The choice of grounded type and size depends on the application, location and soil resistivity.[15] The output of the DC source would then be adjusted to the optimum level after conducting various tests including measurements of electrochemical potential. It is sometimes more economically viable to protect a pipeline using galvanic anodes. This is often the case on smaller diameter pipelines of limited length.[16] Crevice corrosion It refers to corrosion occurring in confined spaces to which the access of the working fluid from the environment is limited. These spaces are generally called crevices. Examples of crevices are gaps and contact areas between parts, under gaskets or seals, inside cracks and seams, spaces filled with deposits and under sludge piles.

Crevice corrosion of type 316 stainless steel This photo shows that corrosion occurred in the crevice between the tube and tube sheet (both made of type 316 stainless steel) of a heat exchanger in a sea water desalination plant.[1] The corrosion resistance of a stainless steel is dependent on the presence of an ultra-thin protective oxide film (passive film) on its surface, but it is possible under certain conditions for this oxide film to break down, for example in halide solutions or reducing acids. Areas

where the oxide film can break down can also sometimes be the result of the way components are designed, for example under gaskets, in sharp re-entrant corners or associated with incomplete weld penetration or overlapping surfaces. These can all form crevices which can promote corrosion. To function as a corrosion site, a crevice has to be of sufficient width to permit entry of the corrodent, but narrow enough to ensure that the corrodent remains stagnant. Accordingly crevice corrosion usually occurs in gaps a few micrometres wide, and is not found in grooves or slots in which circulation of the corrodent is possible. This problem can often be overcome by paying attention to the design of the component, in particular to avoiding formation of crevices or at least keeping them as open as possible. Crevice corrosion is a very similar mechanism to pitting corrosion; alloys resistant to one are generally resistant to both. Crevice corrosion can be viewed as a less severe form of localized corrosion when compared with pitting. The depth of penetration and the rate of propagation in pitting corrosion are significanatly greater than in crevice corrosion.