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Hydrogen Assisted Cracking in Pearlitic Steel Rods: The Role of Residual Stresses Generated by Fatigue Precracking


Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) of metals is an issue of major concern in engineering since this phenomenon causes many catastrophic failures of structural components in aggressive environments. SCC is even more harmful under cathodic conditions promoting the phenomenon known as hydrogen assisted cracking (HAC), hydrogen assisted fracture (HAF) or hydrogen embrittlement (HE). A common way to assess the susceptibility of a given material to HAC, HAF or HE is to subject a cracked rod to a constant extension rate tension (CERT) test until it fractures in this harsh environment. This paper analyzes the influence of a residual stress field generated by fatigue precracking on the sample’s posterior susceptibility to HAC. To achieve this goal, numerical simulations were carried out of hydrogen diffusion assisted by the stress field. Firstly, a mechanical simulation of the fatigue precracking was developed for revealing the residual stress field after diverse cyclic loading scenarios and posterior stress field evolution during CERT loading. Afterwards, a simulation of hydrogen diffusion assisted by stress was carried out considering the residual stresses after fatigue and the superposed rising stresses caused by CERT loading. Results reveal the key role of the residual stress field after fatigue precracking in the HAC phenomena in cracked steel rods as well as the beneficial effect of compressive residual stress.

Funding source: Ministry for Science and Technology (MICYT; Grant MAT2002-01831), Ministry for Education and Science (MEC; Grant BIA2005-08965), Ministry for Science and Innovation (MICINN; Grant BIA2008-06810), Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO; Grant BIA2011-27870), Junta de Castilla y León (JCyL; Grants SA067A05, SA111A07 and SA039A08).
Countries: Spain

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