The pursuit of strong and ductile Al alloys with superior resistance to hydrogen embrittlement (HE) is practically significant across the aerospace and transportation industries among others. Unfortunately, effective ways to progress on the strength-HE trade-off for Al-alloys remain elusive. A strategy of suppressing HE by introducing intermetallic compound (IMC) particles to achieve hydrogen redistribution in various trapping sites was proposed. Here, we systematically induce the precipitation of a constant volume fraction of intermetallic compound (IMC) particles by adding one of 14 elements in a ternary Al-Zn-Mg high-strength alloy. We show a strong correlation between hydrogen trapping energies of the IMC obtained from ab initio calculations with the resistance to HE. Mn-rich Al11Mn3Zn2 particles exhibit the highest hydrogen trapping energy (0.859 eV/atom), leading to a decrease by approximately 5 orders of magnitude in the hydrogen occupancy in η2 (MgZn2) phase interfaces and grain boundaries, where HE cracks initiate. The Mn-addition did not deteriorate the ductility and most Al11Mn3Zn2 particles remained intact during plastic deformation which was revealed by in-situ 3D X-ray tomography. Hydrogen-induced strain localization at η2 phase interfaces and grain boundaries were inhibited due to strong hydrogen trapping capacity of Al11Mn3Zn2, hence preventing HE cracks initiation. Our approach effectively suppresses hydrogen-induced cracks without sacrificing the ductility, and our strategy can help the design roadmap of HE-tolerant high-strength metallic alloys.
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