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A Temperature Controlled Mechanical Test Facility to Ensure Safe Materials Performance in Hydrogen at 1000 Bar


Increasingly, car manufacturers are turning to high pressure hydrogen storage for on-board power applications. Many prototypes use costly materials and fabrication methods, such as Type 316L austenitic stainless steel and processes such as TIG (GTA) welding. There is a need to move to less expensive options without compromising safety to assist in developing economic vehicles. It is important that the behaviour of new/modified materials and joints (including those fabricated by new technologies) is understood at anticipated service temperatures and hydrogen pressure as the consequences of poor material choice could be severe. The greatest detrimental effect of gaseous hydrogen on the mechanical properties of metallic materials is commonly observed under conditions of dynamic plastic strain. Under such conditions, an atomically clean surface is produced, where hydrogen molecules will dissociate, and penetrate the material. Thus, static load test methods with hydrogen charging are not reliable for engineering data generation. To meet the need for dynamically straining material in a pressurised hydrogen environment, TWI has developed a facility to load specimens in a high pressure environment for tensile , toughness and fatigue testing. The design of this has involved a number of innovative steps. This paper outlines the requirements and the design and construction issues that were encountered when installing a facility which can not only perform tests at up to 1000bar (100MPa) but also for temperatures between –150°C to +85°C.

Related subjects: Safety
Countries: United Kingdom

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