Effects of vanadium carbides on hydrogen embrittlement of tempered martensitic steel
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Precipitation of V carbides is known to suppress the hydrogen-embrittlement (HE) phenomenon as well as to increase material strength. Despite increasing attention to V carbides, there have been few systematic and quantitative investigations on their effects on HE resistance. This study reveals the role of V carbides on the HE behavior of tempered martensitic steel while eliminating other factors, such as chemical composition of other elements, mechanical strength, and dislocation density. The amount of trapped hydrogen increased with increasing V content, whereas the best HE resistance was attained at 0.2 wt% V and it decreased with further V addition. V carbide was considered as a non-diffusible hydrogen-trapping site in this study. However, excessive V content led to the formation of large undissolved carbides that gave rise to brittle fracture and decreased HE resistance. This study suggests that improved HE resistance can be achieved by minimizing the size and amount of undissolved V carbides.
Keywordshydrogen embrittlement precipitation vanadium carbide tempered martensite
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