Stacking fault energy in relation to hydrogen environment embrittlement of metastable austenitic stainless crni‐steels

Fussik, R. and Egels, G. and Theisen, W. and Weber, S.

Volume: 11 Pages:
DOI: 10.3390/met11081170
Published: 2021

Metastable austenitic steels react to plastic deformation with a thermally and/or mechan-ically induced martensitic phase transformation. The martensitic transformation to α’‐martensite can take place directly or indirectly via the intermediate stage of ε‐martensite from the single‐phase austenite. This effect is influenced by the stacking fault energy (SFE) of austenitic steels. An SFE < 20 mJ/m2 is known to promote indirect conversion, while an SFE > 20 mJ/m2 promotes the direct conversion of austenite into α’‐martensite. This relationship has thus far not been considered in relation to the hydrogen environment embrittlement (HEE) of metastable austenitic CrNi steels. To gain new insights into HEE under consideration of the SFE and martensite formation of metastable CrNi steels, tensile tests were carried out in this study at room temperature in an air environment and in a hydrogen gas atmosphere with a pressure of p = 10 MPa. These tests were conducted on a conventionally produced alloy AISI 304L and a laboratory‐scale modification of this alloy. In terms of metal physics, the steels under consideration differed in the value of the experimentally deter-mined SFE. The SFE of the AISI 304L was 22.7 ± 0.8 mJ/m2 and the SFE of the 304 mod alloy was 18.7 ± 0.4 mJ/m2. The tensile specimens tested in air revealed a direct γ→α’ conversion for AISI 304L and an indirect γ→ε→α’ conversion for 304mod. From the results it could be deduced that the indirect phase transformation is responsible for a significant increase in the content of deformation‐induced α’‐martensite due to a reduction of the SFE value below 20 mJ/m2 in hydrogen gas atmosphere. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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