Small Crack Growth of a Metastable Austenitic Stainless Steel (304L) in the Low and High Cycle Fatigue Regime under Hydrogen Influence


The phenomenon of hydrogen embrittlement under mechanical stress is known since a long time. However, the underlying mechanisms are still not clear despite several numerical and experimental investigations. This paper examines the effect of internal hydrogen on the change in the small crack initiation and propagation as well as the change in the slip band morphology. The basis for the experimental characterization are compression-tension-cyclic tests in the low cycle fatigue- (LCF) and high cycle fatigue (HCF) regime at 1 Hz test frequency with specimens of the metastable austenitic stainless steel X2CrNi19-X (variants with 9.07% and 12.36% Ni). Hydrogen precharging changes the crack initiation and propagation and suppresses the typical stage I crack propagation and allows an early transition to stage Ib.

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