Chen, Lu, Liang, Rosenthal, Liu, Sneddon, McCarroll, Zhao, Li, Guo, Cairney (2020) Observation of hydrogen trapping at dislocations, grain boundaries, and precipitates Science (New York, N.Y.) 367(6474) 171-175


Hydrogen embrittlement of high-strength steel is an obstacle for using these steels in sustainable energy production. Hydrogen embrittlement involves hydrogen-defect interactions at multiple-length scales. However, the challenge of measuring the precise location of hydrogen atoms limits our understanding. Thermal desorption spectroscopy can identify hydrogen retention or trapping, but data cannot be easily linked to the relative contributions of different microstructural features. We used cryo-transfer atom probe tomography to observe hydrogen at specific microstructural features in steels. Direct observation of hydrogen at carbon-rich dislocations and grain boundaries provides validation for embrittlement models. Hydrogen observed at an incoherent interface between niobium carbides and the surrounding steel provides direct evidence that these incoherent boundaries can act as trapping sites. This information is vital for designing embrittlement-resistant steels. Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.