Hydrogen embrittlement in nuclear and bearing applications: from quantum mechanics to thermokinetics and alloy design
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Physics & Chemistry
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Stopher, M. A. (2018). Hydrogen embrittlement in nuclear and bearing applications: from quantum mechanics to thermokinetics and alloy design (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.30353
Hydrogen embrittlement in ferrous and non-ferrous alloys is, and has been for over a century, a prominent issue within many sectors of industry. Despite this, the mechanisms by which hydrogen embrittlement occurs and the suitable means for its prevention are yet to be fully established. As hydrogen fuel becomes a prominent feature in modern concepts of a sustainable global energy infrastructure and nuclear power enters its renaissance, with commercially viable fusion plants on the horizon, hydrogen embrittlement is becoming an ever more pertinent issue. This has led to a considerable demand for novel alloys resistant to hydrogen embrittlement, notably within the bearings industry, where the commonly conflicting properties of high strength and hydrogen embrittlement resistance are required. This work investigates the mechanisms through which hydrogen embrittlement and irradiation damage occur in steels and nickel-based alloys respectively, with novel alloys designed for improved resistance. Through the engineering of secondary phases, optimised for helium and/or hydrogen trapping capacity, the novel alloys present the benefits of such trapping species with respect to embrittlement resistance. Such species have been studied in depth with respect to their interactions with hydrogen, establishing a novel mechanism of hydrogen embrittlement - the hydrogen enhanced dissolution and shearability of precipitates, leading to enhanced localised plasticity.
Nuclear, Materials, Hydrogen, Hydrogen Embrittlement, Steel, Nickel-based Alloys, Radiation Damage, Quantum Mechanics, Nuclear Energy
This work was supported by the SKF Engineering and Research Centre and financed by AB SKF and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [Programme grant number EP/L014742/1].
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.30353
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