Thursday, 09.09.2021
Hydrogen - Challenges for Materials

In the short-to-medium term, hydrogen will play a leading role in accomplishing the transition from fossil fuels to regenerative energy. Since this is a global development, which is required in order to meet climate targets and limit global warming, more and more industry branches as well as private consumers are affected. 

However, hydrogen is also known to detrimentally affect mechanical properties of metals, which may eventually yield “hydrogen embrittlement”. In particular, steels exceeding a tensile strength of 800 MPa are susceptible to “hydrogen embrittlement”. Hydrogen sources are found in various different steps of a component`s life cycle. During manufacturing, steps such as casting, welding or heat treatment are may bring hydrogen into the components. Hydrogen uptake during the component´s application can be facilitated by corrosion and exposure to hydrogen-containing atmospheres as well as high-pressure hydrogen, with the latter being predominantly associated to hydrogen as an energy source. For example, hydrogen-fueled gas turbines pose particularly challenging conditions, since they operate at high temperatures and hydrogen pressures.

Therefore, there is an increasing demand for understanding and preventing “hydrogen embrittlement”, which yields comprehensive research and development activities. This includes identifying the failure mechanisms associated to “hydrogen embrittlement”, developing materials less affected by “hydrogen embrittlement” as well as elaborating testing methods and standards in order to assess the material`s performance in hydrogen-containing environments. Nonetheless, there are already several components made of materials less susceptible to “hydrogen embrittlement”, such as Ni-base alloys, stable austenitic chromium-nickel steels or low strength steels. These materials provide a solid basis for hydrogen applications. The lecture program contains a general overview of the interactions between hydrogen and metals as well as analyzing and testing methods in order to assess a materials susceptibility to “hydrogen embrittlement”. Experts from the industry will present challenges for materials associated with hydrogen-containing atmospheres as well as strategies and developments in order to enable a save operation.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Pohl

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

The lecture program of this topic will take place on Thursday 09.09.2021

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