Small fatigue crack growth characteristics and fracture surface morphology of low carbon steel in hydrogen gas

Dongsun Lee, Hideaki Nishikawa, Yasuji Oda, Hiroshi Noguchi

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Owing to energy conservation and environmental concerns, hydrogen has been suggested as a next-generation energy source. However, hydrogen known to seep into a metal, degrade its strength, and accelerate fatigue crack growth rates. We have investigated the effects of hydrogen gas on the small fatigue crack growth characteristics of low carbon steel JIS S10C by conducting bending fatigue tests on a specimen with a small blind hole and placed in a low-pressure hydrogen environment. The fatigue crack growth rate in hydrogen was higher than that in nitrogen. The fracture surface of the specimen in hydrogen showed intergranular facets in the low- growth-rate range and a quasi-cleavage fracture surface with brittle striations in the high-growth-rate range. The specimen only showed a ductile fracture surface for nitrogen. The small-fatigue-crack growth rate for nitrogen is given by dl/dN ∞Δp nl, where l, N, and Δp represent the crack length, number of repetitions, and plastic strain range, respectively. This equation was also satisfied for hydrogen, but only over a short strain range from Δi = 0.25 to 0.37% in which the fracture surface exhibited intergranular facets and a ductile morphology, but no quasi-cleavage fracture. The exponent n of the equation was 1.22 in nitrogen and 0.66 in hydrogen environment. The small-fatigue-crack growth law can be used for safe material designs in hydrogen environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanics of Materials


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