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Solute hydrogen and deuterium observed at the near atomic scale in high-strength steel

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Breen,  Andrew J.
Atom Probe Tomography, Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;
Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia;
School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia;

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Stephenson,  Leigh
Atom Probe Tomography, Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Sun,  Binhan
Mechanism-based Alloy Design, Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Kasian,  Olga
Electrocatalysis, Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;
Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Helmholtz-Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg, 14109 Berlin, Germany;

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Raabe,  Dierk
Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Herbig,  Michael
Materials Science of Mechanical Contacts, Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Gault,  Baptiste
Atom Probe Tomography, Microstructure Physics and Alloy Design, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Breen, A. J., Stephenson, L., Sun, B., Li, Y., Kasian, O., Raabe, D., et al. (2020). Solute hydrogen and deuterium observed at the near atomic scale in high-strength steel. Acta Materialia, 188, 108-120. doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2020.02.004.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-D9A6-B
Abstract
Observing solute hydrogen (H) in matter is a formidable challenge, yet, enabling quantitative imaging of H at the atomic-scale is critical to understand its deleterious influence on the mechanical strength of many metallic alloys that has resulted in many catastrophic failures of engineering parts and structures. Here, we report on the APT analysis of hydrogen (H) and deuterium (D) within the nanostructure of an ultra-high strength steel with high resistance to hydrogen embrittlement. Cold drawn, severely deformed pearlitic steel wires (Fe–0.98C–0.31Mn–0.20Si–0.20Cr–0.01Cu–0.006P–0.007S wt, ε=3.1) contains cementite decomposed during the pre-deformation of the alloy and ferrite. We find H and D within the decomposed cementite, and at some interfaces with the surrounding ferrite. To ascertain the origin of the H/D signal obtained in APT, we explored a series of experimental workflows including cryogenic specimen preparation and cryogenic-vacuum transfer from the preparation into a state-of-the-art atom probe. Our study points to the critical role of the preparation, i.e. the possible saturation of H-trapping sites during electrochemical polishing, how these can be alleviated by the use of an outgassing treatment, cryogenic preparation and transfer prior to charging. Accommodation of large amounts of H in the under-stoichiometric carbide likely explains the resistance of pearlite against hydrogen embrittlement. © 2020 Acta Materialia Inc.