Grain Boundaries are Key in Study of Hydrogen Embrittlement
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have identified which characteristics of a metal structure tend to foster embrittlement in the presence of hydrogen. More significantly, they have also determined that simple changes in processing can modify the structure in a way that may greatly reduce the chances of damage, extending the safe operating lifetime of tubing such as that lining oil wells deep below the surface of the ocean. Their findings are published in a paper co-written by MIT faculty members Michael Demkowicz and Silvija Gradečak, materials science and engineering postdoc Matteo Seita, and John Hanson, a doctoral student in nuclear science and engineering.
“The novelty of our study was the strategy we used for looking at the microstructure of the material, and what is the role of the microstructure in causing embrittlement,” says Seita. Through this analysis, the researchers found that grain boundaries...