Reduced hydrogen embrittlement susceptibility in platinum implanted high strength steel

J. G. Cowie, L. J. Lowder, R. J. Culbertson, W. E. Kosik, R. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


High strength steels suffer from a high susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement in a corrosive atmosphere, a factor which limits their usefulness. A good catalyst, such as platinum, present on the surface of the steel may lead to a low value of hydrogen overvoltage, thereby reducing the accumulation and subsequent diffusion of atomic hydrogen into the metal. In the present study, platinum was implanted into high strength electroslag remelted (ESR) 4340 steel specimens to a dose of 1016 atoms/cm2. Both Pt-implanted and unimplanted specimens were rate charged with hydrogen. The relative concentration of diffusible hydrogen was determined using an electrochemical measurement device known as a Barnacle Electrode. The specimens implanted with platinum exhibited less diffusible hydrogen than the unimplanted steel. Slow strain rate notched-tensile tests, in an aqueous solution of 3.5 wt.% NaCI, were performed in order to evaluate the effect of hydrogen on strength and ductility. The Pt-implanted specimens were able to sustain significantly higher loads before fracture than their unimplanted counterparts. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) verified the presence of brittle cracking typical of hydrogen embrittlement type failures. Degradation of mechanical properties due to hydrogen embrittlement was thus significantly reduced. This suggested that both the electrochemical and catalytic properties of the Pt-implanted surface were responsible for the improvement in properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-874
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, B
Issue numberPART 2
StatePublished - Jul 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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