Hydrogen-Assisted Brittle Fracture Behavior of Low Alloy 30CrMo Steel Based on the Combination of Experimental and Numerical Analyses


Compact-tension (CT) specimens made of low alloy 30CrMo steels were hydrogen-charged, and then subjected to the fracture toughness test. The experimental results revealed that the higher crack propagation and the lower crack growth resistance (CTOD-R curve) are significantly noticeable with increasing hydrogen embrittlement (HE) indexes. Moreover, the transition in the microstructural fracture mechanism from ductile (microvoid coalescence (MVC)) without hydrogen to a mixed quasi-cleavage (QC) fracture and QC + intergranular (IG) fracture with hydrogen was observed. The hydrogen-enhanced decohesion (HEDE) mechanism was characterized as the dominant HE mechanism. According to the experimental testing, the coupled problem of stress field and hydrogen diffusion field with cohesive zone stress analysis was employed to simulate hydrogen-assisted brittle fracture behavior by using ABAQUS software. The trapezoidal traction-separation law (TSL) was adopted, and the initial TSL parameters from the best fit to the load-displacement and J-integral experimental curves without hydrogen were calibrated for the critical separation of 0.0393 mm and the cohesive strength of 2100 MPa. The HEDE was implemented through hydrogen influence in the TSL, and to estimate the initial hydrogen concentration based on matching numerical and experimental load-line displacement curves with hydrogen. The simulation results show that the general trend of the computational CTOD-R curves corresponding to initial hydrogen concentration is almost the same as that obtained from the experimental data but in full agreement, the computational CTOD values being slightly higher. Comparative analysis of numerical and experimental results shows that the coupled model can provide design and prediction to calculate hydrogen-assisted fracture behavior prior to extensive laboratory testing, provided that the material properties and properly calibrated TSL parameters are known.

Funding source: National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (No. 11632007) and the Project of Promoting the Basic Ability of Scientific Research of Young and Middle-aged Teachers in Universities of Guangxi (No.2020KY21011). These financial supports are gratefully acknowledged.

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