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Compressed Hydrogen-resistant Steels

Steels that are only slightly susceptible to decarburisation by hydrogen at high pressures and high temperatures and to the embrittlement and intercrystalline failure associated with this are considered to be compressed hydrogen-resistant steels. These properties are achieved by alloying with elements that form highly resistant, barely decomposable carbides at the operating temperature. Chrome is one such element. The following for example are compressed hydrogen-resistant steels 25CrMo4, 20CrMo9, 17CrMoV10, X20CrMoV12-1, X8CrNiMoVNb16-13 in accordance with Steel Material Specification 590. At high pressures hydrogen penetrates the steel and reacts with the carbon in the iron carbide or pearlite forming methane at the same time. High pressures which lead to disaggregation and finally to intercrystalline cracks occur inside the steel since the methane molecules have only a very low diffusability due to their size.

Welding of Compressed Hydrogen-resistant Steels


Compressed hydrogen-resistant steels are weldable if the necessary precautions are taken. However, their weldability declines as the carbon content increases. These steels must be preheated to 200 to 400C depending on the type of steel and this temperature must be maintained during welding. After welding cooling must be slow and even. Postweld heat treatment must be carried out as specified. The filler metals must also result in a compressed hydrogen-resistant weld metal. Steels X20CrMoV12-1 and X8CrNiMoVNb16-13 require a very specialised welding technology.

Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Hydrogen Resistant Steels.doc

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